Posts Categorized: Disaster

We’re Helping Animal Victims of California Wildfire

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Joey is at the Humane Society of Tuolumne County, which just received a disaster grant.

Eight-week-old Joey is at the Humane Society of Tuolumne County, which just received a disaster grant.

We’re rushing $2,500 in disaster aid to the Humane Society of Tuolumne County in Jamestown, Calif., a small shelter that’s working day and night to care for 30 dogs and cats displaced by California’s raging Rim Fire.

In addition to our cash grant, we’ve partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., to send the shelter cat vaccinations, dog vaccinations and pain medicine, which will help pets recovering from spay/neuter surgeries. We’re also working with our friends at Thundershirt to send the calming shirts to the shelter, which will not only help the 30 displaced pets but the 25 homeless pets also in residence.

“We’re so happy [about all the donations],” Shelter Operations Director Doryene Rapini tells us. “We’ve been wanting to buy Thundershirts, but we can’t afford them. This will really help because some of the animals are so scared.”


Our granted Thundershirts will help calm Harvey.

Rapini says one of her staff members has worked for 12 days straight, and that she’s had to hire additional staff to care for the displaced pets.

“In addition, we have called for all available volunteers to help with the increased workload of cleaning, walking, cuddling and nurturing the animals in our care until this crisis is over,” she tells us. “Although at this time we are unsure how long [the crisis] will last, we are currently at day 12 as the fire continues to spread and 4,500 structures are threatened.”

Rapini says our grant was going to make a huge difference: “We’re so small, and our community is not the wealthiest, so getting help is just amazing.”

Donate to help us save more pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!



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.


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.”


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



A Flood Threatens Reservation Dogs in Montana

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George had to be evacuated from RezQ Dogs.

George has been evacuated from RezQ Dogs’ shelter because of the flood.

When the shelter housing pets rescued by RezQ Dogs — which saves extremely at-risk dogs from two isolated Indian reservations in Montana — was destroyed on June 4 by a flood, we rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Dodson, Mont., where RezQ Dogs is building new kennels so it can keep saving the area’s stray, abused and unwanted dogs.

“Every inch of the property is covered with three to four inches of silt and mud,” RezQ Dogs President Anita Wilke tells us. “Ten kennels are destroyed, as is the perimeter fence. All of the dog houses are either contaminated or destroyed.”

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs.

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs’ shelter

RezQ Dogs takes in dogs, cats and other animals from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s reservations. Together, the communities cover roughly 1,200 square miles in North-Central Montana, and the prospects for homeless dogs are dire in both, Wilke says.

On Fort Belknap, Wilke says, “Dogs spend their mandatory three-day hold cramped into the live trap in which they were captured.”

“Because there is no budget for animal control, there is no budget for medical needs or even food for the dogs that find their way to ‘animal control,’ ” she adds. “Prior to RezQ Dogs, the Fort Belknap Animal Control euthanized 95 percent of all incoming dogs. Only 5 percent were reclaimed by owners or found new homes. Strays on Fort Belknap were held for three days, if they didn’t cause a problem, and then were euthanized by gunshot. Owner turn-ins were shot immediately.”

There is no animal control presence on Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Wilke says.

“Their customary response to the ‘dog control issue’ is to conduct round ups which result in the animals being hunted and shot,” she says.

In the last three years, RezQ has saved and found loving homes for more than 800 dogs, Wilke says.

Katniss, who's eye had to be removed because of a porcupine encounter, was evacuated.

Katniss came to RezQ Dogs with a porcupine-injured eye that had to be removed.

Wilke says Dodson’s heavy rains began several weeks before the June 4 flood hit. Fearing the weather would worsen, RezQ Dogs transported 11 of its dogs to a boarding kennel 180 miles away in Great Falls. Eight dogs remained in the group’s care when the flood struck, and they were evacuated by boat. Some of these displaced dogs have been taken in by shelters and rescues in the region, but the demand on RezQ Dogs to take in imperiled dogs from the reservations has not slowed down.

“We are looking forward to making the necessary improvements to continue helping dogs from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations,” Wilke says. “Everyone at RezQ Dogs is very grateful for your support!”

Donate so we can keep helping pets when disaster strikes.

Evacuation by boat.

Evacuating RezQ Dogs by boat


Animals Suffering in Colorado Wildfires

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Zed is tiny and adorable

Our grant to The Gabriel Foundation is helping protect Zed the lovebird.

With Colorado wildfires still raging, our disaster grants are helping to reunite evacuated pets with their families and to protect 950 homeless birds from the deadly effects of smoky air.

After the state’s most destructive wildfire broke out near Colorado Springs on June 11, we rushed $3,000 to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), which has cared for nearly 1,000 animals affected by the disaster. We also sent $1,500 to The Gabriel Foundation so it could purchase the expensive air filters it needs to protect the delicate respiratory systems of the 950 homeless Parrots and other birds in its care.

Nelson, the Elderly Parrot

Our grant is helping Nelson the senior Parrot.

“We are downwind from the fires, and because we use swamp coolers and birds’ respiratory systems are extremely delicate, our birds’ health is greatly at risk,” The Gabriel Foundation’s Administration Manager Jennie Wyrwicki tells us. “We need to make sure we have filters running constantly.”

HSPPR’s Grants and Corporate Relations Manager Marsha Wayman tells us that her organization has already reunited 315 animals with their grateful families. Many displaced pets are or were in the shelter’s care because their pet parents were evacuated and had to bring their pets to the shelter for temporary care, Wayman says.

HSPPR also went into homes to retrieve pets who had been left behind, like Callie, below. When Callie’s family was forced to evacuate, she was hiding and they could not find her. They were thrilled HSPPR was able to save her life.

Callie's Happy Reunion

Callie was reunited with her grateful family at HSPPR.

We’re proud to be supporting these happy reunions and the hard work Colorado’s animal-welfare organizations are doing to save animal victims of the disaster.

Donate today so we can save more pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!


Helping Animal Victims of the Colorado Wildfire

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Displaced Cat in Kennel

This Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region photo shows one of the many displaced pets in the organization’s care.

We’ve rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is caring for 358 cats, dogs, birds, pocket pets and other animals displaced by the raging Black Forest fire.

“We’re working around the clock,” Grants and Corporate Relations Manager Marsha Wayman tells us.

The fire is the most destructive in the state’s history, with officials saying 360 homes have already been destroyed. Thousands of residents are being evacuated, and many of them are bringing their pets to the shelter for temporary housing and care.

“We’re working right now with animal recovery, trying to locate animals that have been left behind,” Wayman tells us.

Two Displaced Dogs in a Cage

Two of the many dogs whose owners were evacuated and who are being cared for by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

The fire comes less than a year after the state’s second-most destructive fire, the Waldo Canyon fire, struck the region.

Temporary Shelter for People and Pets

A temporary shelter for people and pets being managed by the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

“The good news is we have an incredibly experienced and talented team,” Wayman says. “That’s kind of a silver lining, but the impact is going to be larger this time.”

As the manager of the area’s Community Animal Response Team, the organization is tasked with providing professional response, resources and community education during and after disasters, Wayman says. They are housing displaced animals at several locations, including one site where pet parents can stay with their pets. They working to transport large animals – such as horses and goats – to other organizations that are better equipped  to care for them, Wayman said.

Chinchilla in Cage

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is caring for small displaced companion animals like this one, too.

The organization expects to spend a significant amount of money on transporting and housing pets while their caretakers are indefinitely displaced. Wayman says she is grateful for the Foundation’s fast assistance.

“We appreciate it so much,” Wayman said. “We need all the help we can get.”

Help us save more pets when disaster strikes.


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.



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.”



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



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.


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.”



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.