Rescue Efforts Save Animals from Oklahoma Floods
Oklahoma’s historic flooding has put numerous lives at risk, but brave volunteers have delivered tremendous effort to rescue vulnerable animals. Led by organizations like American Humane, local fire departments and Code 3 Associates, a nonprofit that specializes in animal disaster response, these rescue teams have ensured the safe evacuation of hundreds of animals that include both pets and strays.
"Storms like these can be deadly for pets who are separated from their families," said Robin Ganzert, CEO of American Humane. "We are working to help all of our friends in Oklahoma to stay safe in this disaster."
The flooding has been caused by a combination of severe storms, tornadoes and winds, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. More than six people have died over the past few days and every single one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties is under an emergency declaration.
Despite these challenges, teams have been deployed to save pets in animal rescue vehicles and boats. The American Humane team includes a veterinarian and trained floodwater responders all equipped with medical and sheltering supplies. Many of the responders from American Humane and Code 3 Associates have completed other animal rescues in natural disasters such as wildfires, floods and hurricanes. Some of them even specialize in the rescue of large animals like horses and cattle.
These teams target both domesticated animals trapped in flooded homes and strays. A group in Webbers Falls, Okla. that included volunteers from the local fire department and animal welfare organizations, was on a mission to find Charlie, a stray dog well-known to everyone in the town. After some coaxing, the team was able to successfully get him into a rescue boat.
For people who were evacuating and couldn’t bring their pets with them, temporary shelters were set up by organizations like Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, Neighbor for Neighbor, Tulsa SPCA and Spay OK. These animals were then safely transported to shelters in Virginia and Maryland.
For those interested in helping out with animal rescue efforts, donations can be made to the Tulsa SPCA. The organization is using donations to purchase much-needed supplies such as latex gloves, dog bowls and fleece blankets.