American Humane Association is incredibly grateful to Global Giving for its support of our Red Star Animal Emergency Services team’s most recent deployment to Oklahoma following the EF 5 tornado which devastated the community of Moore. With this grant, we were able to provide much-needed humane intervention to the impacted area, instilling the American values of compassion, care and hope.
Thanks to our kind invitation from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, American Humane Association responded within days and staged our Red Star team and two Rescue Vehicles at the county fairgrounds in Norman, Okla. In the field, our team of nearly 50 responders (approximately 12-18 per week) was led by Red Star National Director, Justin Scally, and Red Star team members Josh Cary, Operations Specialist, Dean Berenbaum, Resource Manager, and Andy Bass, Response Specialist.
During our 30 days in Oklahoma—our longest deployment since Hurricane Katrina—stories of terror, loss, grief, and most importantly hope, were shared as we sheltered and cared for hundreds of animals affected by the tornadoes. I am thrilled to report that we were able to rescue and/or shelter more than 200 animals, reunite nearly 100 with their families, place some with rescues and get many into good, loving homes during an Adopt-a-Thon we held with the City of Moore on Sunday, June 23, 2013.
One of the most significant lessons learned during this deployment is that preparedness and planning are essential. Local and state agencies must have solid animal disaster plans in place—a plan that was not in place in Moore prior to the disaster that hit on May 20—and those plans should be exercised to find shortcomings before a disaster strikes.
As a result, we have provided guidance to the City of Moore on writing an animal disaster plan so that they are better prepared to handle an emergency or disaster in the future. Further, American Humane Association has signed an MOU with the City of Moore to be their primary national animal welfare first responder for future natural and/or man-made disasters, including animal cruelty. And finally, we hosted a Red Star training course in the area on October 5-6, 2013, which provided attendees with a basic knowledge of disaster response and helps to build a responder base within the community.
Thank you again for your kind support of our Red Star team in Oklahoma, ensuring that the animals received the comfort and care they deserve. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact René Gornall, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 202.677.4224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.