Posts Tagged: Oklahoma

What Happened to Oklahoma Tornado Pets?

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Chance was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris.

Thanks to donors like you, in May we gave nearly $50,000 in cash and product grants to shelters impacted by the Oklahoma tornado. What happened to the animals who lost their homes to the storm? Grant recipient Central Oklahoma Humane Society, one of the shelters charged with rescuing pets displaced by the disaster, providing medical treatment for them and reuniting them with their owners, took in 151 dogs and cats. Amy Shrodes, the shelter’s manager of development, tells us nearly all have been reunited with their families or adopted into new homes — and those who haven’t are being lovingly cared for by shelter staff.

Here is the full grant report from Shrodes:

“The Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane) applied the grant from the Petfinder Foundation towards outside emergency medical expenses associated with animals injured during the May 20, 2013, tornado that devastated the city of Moore and parts of South Oklahoma City.

“The grant provided by the Petfinder Foundation covered a portion of reimbursement to outside veterinarians who assisted OK Humane with the treatment of critically injured animals found immediately following the tornado. Gifts like the one given by the Petfinder Foundation enabled OK Humane to take in a total of 151 animals at our temporary disaster-relief facilities. We were thrilled that 67 of the dogs and cats OK Humane took in were reunited with owners during the 45-day reunion time frame. At the end of the 45 days, OK Humane hosted a special adoption event for the animals who did not have families come forward for them. The event was called ‘Hope After The Storm,’ and it was hosted on July 13. Adopters from all over the country pre-registered for a chance to win a ticket to attend the private adoption event. Almost all of the remaining tornado animals were adopted at the event. OK Humane is still caring for several dogs and cats displaced by the storm, and they will receive love and attention until they are adopted by new families.

“We are now in the process of launching a long-term area resource plan for residents in disaster-affected areas. OK Humane is a member of the Long-Term Area Resource Committee for Oklahoma County and plans to assist owners with outstanding vet-bill reimbursement for injuries resulting from the disaster. OK Humane will also be offering free spay/neuter surgeries, free vaccinations and free microchipping. The plan is to offer these resources through at least the end of 2013.

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Chance’s grandmother broke down in tears when she discovered he was alive.

“Chance, a brindle-and-white boxer, was in horrible shape when his rescuer found him the night the tornado ripped through the City of Moore. The fact that he was in an airline carrier is probably the only thing that saved his life.

“Chance was sent to the OK Humane disaster-relief facility from the triage unit in Moore. Upon arrival, we knew that he needed immediate medical attention. As soon as a volunteer was available, we had him transported over to an emergency center where he was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris on his legs and face.

“We are excited to say that several days later Chance was reunited with his family. The person who found Chance was his grandmother, and she could not believe he was still alive. Her house had been completely destroyed by the storm. She thought Chance was lost forever, and broke down in tears immediately when she saw him come around the corner at our facility. Known as his ‘Oma,’ she had been keeping Chance for a few weeks for her son in California when the storm hit.

“Chance’s owners stayed in constant contact with us during his sheltering and treatment, and even allowed us to neuter him for free at our high-quality public spay/neuter clinic. One month later, an OK Humane board member flew Chance in a private plane back to his mom and dad in California. This sweet boy truly received a second ‘chance’ at life! Following the progress of his story during the 30 days that we cared for him was an inspiration to the entire OK Humane team.”

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A month after the tornado hit, Chance was reunited with his owners.

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Oklahoma Shelters Preparing for Surge of Lost Cats

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Kitten rescued from rubble

Oklahoma City animal control officers rescued this kitten from the rubble around Moore.

After the May 20 tornado devastated Moore, Okla., the Petfinder Foundation rushed $15,000 to help Central Oklahoma Humane Society and City of Oklahoma City Animal Services Division cope with the influx of lost and injured pets. Intake numbers are finally slowing down – but with cat-search efforts underway, that the number is expected shoot up again.

“We are beginning our cat-trapping efforts on-site before they do the demolition, so we expect to bring in about 30 to 40 cats in the next few days,” Christy Counts, founder and president of Central Oklahoma Humane Society, tells us.

In addition to the cash grants, we worked with ThunderShirt to get the comforting shirts to displaced dogs, and with Wahl to deliver shampoo, clippers and other much-needed grooming supplies to the shelters. We helped Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. rush vaccines to the facilities as well.

As of yesterday, the shelters had taken in close to 130 displaced pets and reunited at least 60 with their families.

“We are still in the recovery phase, so things haven’t completely slowed down quite yet,” Central Oklahoma Humane Society Director of Outreach Amy Shrodes tells us. “But we are definitely a lot more caught up than we were this time last week.”

Happy Reunion between Dog and Girl

This girl was reunited with her dog at Central Oklahoma Humane Society.

Donate to assist with the recovery efforts in Oklahoma.

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Rushing Aid to Oklahoma’s First Responders

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Susie the hero dog

First responders found Susie standing guard over a deceased man after the tornado hit Moore, Okla.

We knew Oklahoma shelters would be inundated slammed with lost, injured and frightened animals when the tornado struck. We knew that staff were working without power, water or Internet, so we called them and helped them apply for desperately needed cash grants over the phone.

“I really appreciate how easy it was, and how you reached out to us,” City of Oklahoma City Animal Services Division Superintendent Catherine English told us.

The Petfinder Foundation awarded $10,000 in assistance to the Animal Services Division, the government agency tasked with being the lead local responder to the crisis.  We awarded another $5,000 to the division’s neighbor and partner in responding to the disaster, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. We have also worked with our partners at Thundershirt and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health to rush Thundershirts and vaccines to the scene.

Working together, the two Oklahoma City organizations are caring for more than 150 displaced pets, and they have reunited more than 33 lost animals with their families, English said.

Amy Shrodes, director of outreach for the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, was particularly moved by the story of Susie, a 12-year old Schipperke-Border Collie mix. First responders found Susie standing guard over a deceased man inside a house in Moore, which was particularly devastated by the storms.

They assumed the dog was guarding her owner, and took her to an emergency shelter. They were surprised when Susie’s true owner came forward to claim her. The pair lived a half mile from where Susie was found watching over the dead man.

“It was just like a dog’s sense of protection to be by the person,” Shrodes told us.

Most of the displaced animals the organizations have taken in since the tornado struck have been dogs, English said. But as demolition efforts start, she expects more cats will come out of hiding: “Cats will be flying out of everything.”

Displaced Kitten

This displaced kitten is waiting to be reclaimed at Central Oklahoma Humane Society. If his or her family can’t be located, the kitten will be put up for adoption.

The two organizations will pool their resources to house, feed, medicate, treat and comfort all the displaced pets. Our grants will help cover staffing costs, which are skyrocketing because the agencies have been working around the clock.

English’s staff was able finally able to go home and get some sleep last night. “It’s only been two days,” she said. “It seems like nine months.”

English said the grant money and supplies the Petfinder Foundation provided will go a long way. “I’ve never experienced that kind of outreach, that kind of service level,” she added. “It’s kind of unheard of.”

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Searching Through the Rubble for Oklahoma Pets

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The Petfinder Foundation has given a $10,000 grant to City of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division, which has been working with Central Oklahoma Humane Society (which received a $5,000 grant from us) to house the hundreds of pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado. The funds will buy crates, vaccinations, grooming supplies, enrichment items and beds, and pay for medical treatments and staffing costs.

When we spoke with shelter superintendent Catherine English today, she was operating on just three hours of sleep. As the agency tasked with being the lead local responder to the crisis, the division had called all its staff members to work around the clock.

“We have worked two days now at 24 hours [a day],” English told us.

When the storms hit, the shelter staffers worked with regional and out-of-state rescue groups to take in their adoptable pets so that they would have more room for the newcomers. As of this morning, the agency had already taken in 92 dogs, 13 cats and three horses.  “We have a couple of officers down there going through rubble and patrolling the streets looking for strays,” English said.

All incoming animals are checked by a veterinarian and treated for injuries such as lacerations, shock and broken bones. Volunteer groomers were coming in that afternoon to wash the pets, which could reveal more injuries, English said: “We won’t know until we bathe them, whether or not the water runs red, whether they have fiberglass blown into them.”

Under normal circumstances, shelter staff try to achieve a 75 percent live-release rate, English said. They get close to their goal – recently they’ve hovered around a 63 percent live-release rate – because they provide medical interventions that save lives. They have a special Angel Fund set up to pay for expensive surgeries and procedures such as ultrasounds and X-rays, but English expects this crisis will quickly deplete that fund.

Notified of the Petfinder Foundation grant, English said, “That’s amazing! Thank you — I’m thrilled.” The funds, she said, would help ensure that only the most grievously injured pets are euthanized. “We are not going to lower the bar,” she said. “It’s our standard and we’re not going to lower our standard.” –Karen Hollish

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Housing 130+ Displaced Dogs in Oklahoma

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Central Oklahoma Humane Society writes on its Facebook page: “This boy came into our facility with a fractured rear leg. He is currently receiving necessary medical care.”

The Petfinder Foundation has rushed a $5,000 disaster grant to Central Oklahoma Humane Society, which is finding and housing pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado in Oklahoma. The grant money will be used to pay for the pets’ medical care, sheltering and food, and it will help with the staffing costs associated with the shelter’s around-the-clock response.

Under normal circumstances, the shelter takes in 250 to 300 animals a month. As soon as the tornado struck, it emptied all its kennels of adoptable pets — either by transferring them to partner rescues or placing them in foster homes — to provide room for the more than 200 displaced pets expected to come in.

Already the shelter has have taken in more than 130 dogs, and the shelter’s staff have been working around the clock. It has taken in only a few displaced cats – but Director of Outreach Amy Shrodes tells us she expects that number will quickly rise.

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This Sheltie was found stuck in a tree’s branches after the storm.

“It’s still a very chaotic environment in Moore,” she says. “We are thinking most of the cats are still hiding.”

When we caught up with Shrodes on Tuesday, she was finally back in her office after spending the morning searching through the rubble in Moore. During the morning’s search, she and her staff found three dogs, among them a Sheltie who was stuck in a tree’s branches. “He was actually in better shape than some of the dogs we found who weren’t in trees,” she says.

Many of the displaced pets were injured in the storm. “We are looking at an at least 50 percent injury rate for the animals that are coming in,” Shrodes says.

Injured pets are being treated at the in-shelter clinic and at local veterinarians’ offices. The animals have been damaged by debris and are dealing with abrasions, eye injuries, lacerations and fractured legs.

The shelter currently is in need of syringes, needles, sterile gloves, gowns, shoe covers, pet shampoo, clipper blades and chemical antiseptic, Shrodes says.

“We are working around the clock to take in as many displaced animals as possible,” Shrodes says. “This money will go a long way.”

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Helping Tornado Victims in Oklahoma

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With 51 people dead and countless displaced after a massive tornado in Oklahoma, the human cost of the storm is incalculable. But we’re working to help local animal shelters mitigate the suffering of residents’ pets.

The local animal control, City of Moore Animal Shelter, has lost power; its four staff members have been working with almost no sleep to pick up the hundreds of lost pets roaming the city.

They have set up three temporary holding areas, at locations such as the county fairgrounds, where displaced dogs are being held so their owners can locate them. The shelter has not taken in any displaced cats yet, but expects to as the days go on.

Shelter Manager Vanna Conway tells us, “We lost half of our city, and it’s pouring down rain today so it’s not helping matters.” Conway herself went home at 4:30 a.m. last night and was back at work at 7 a.m. today.

On a regular day, the shelter may take in 20 dogs and 10 cats. During the last disaster, a twister that killed at least two in 1999, it took in more than 250 displaced dogs and 200 displaced cats. Shelter staff reconnected all those pets with their families or found new homes for them, and that is what they want to do again.

But this tornado has been even deadlier. “We have a lot more deaths this time, people and animals,” Conway says. Still, most of the animals she and her staff have picked up have been alive. “They’re covered in mud and insulation,” she says, “but they’re breathing.”

Many of them, however, are injured. “We have several vets that are volunteers and they are taking care of those,” Conway says. Uninjured pets are awaiting their owners at one of the three holding areas.

Donate now to help us help Oklahoma shelters save the lives of displaced pets.

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