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Field Notes: Animal Search and Rescue Operations in Alabama

Sheltering operations and preparations for evacuations continue in Missouri and Mississippi

  • Spooky's owner gave him up in the aftermath of the Tuscaloosa tornado, but he wasn't in the shelter for long. Laura Bevan/HSUS

  • A member of the National Guard quickly gave Spooky a new loving home, recognizing a good dog when she saw one. Laura Bevan/HSUS


Search teams continued their grid searches of the Holt area yesterday. This is the area on the northeast corner of Tuscaloosa hit by tornadoes on April 27. Residents and the National Guard continue to report dogs running loose in several areas.

Team members met with the military command in charge of the night patrols in the damaged areas. We have determined locations for trapping the animals roaming in the destroyed areas, and have set up feeding stations. Teams will continue to complete searches in the Holt area and then return to areas where animals have been seen to search those areas again. The NDART responders from Miami Dade Animal Services, Fla., have been asked to stay on site until Tuesday. They are our primary field teams and are doing a great job.

The three staging areas are continuing to give out massive supplies of food and wire crates. We are restocking the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, which now has a warehouse for that purpose, and the Metro Animal Services in Tuscaloosa.

Our primary station at the Alberta Baptist Church is in the middle of the restricted area. Only local residents can get to that location, so it is primarily being used as an operation center to send out search teams. Staging area two, on Crescent Ridge Road, will be run by volunteers and will be stocked with food from Greater Birmingham Humane Society and Eukanuba, which sent a representative in to deliver food to different locations. Staging area three, where the HSUS Sprinter has been located, continues to hand out great quantities of donated food and pet supplies.


We continue to assist the ASPCA in Missouri in providing care to approximately 565 animals. At the start of the weekend, three facilities were in operation: the fairgrounds, the Caruthersville Humane Society, and a new warehouse location. On Sunday we completed our move to the new facility in Kennett, Mo., where we are housing all dogs. We continue to shelter all livestock, isolated animals, exotics, and cats at the fairground location. The Caruthersville shelter is now closed, as the city had to shut off power in preparation for flooding.

One human shelter became operational Friday, and we provided staffing there for animal intake/transport to the animal shelters. The situation in the town appears to have improved in the last 12-24 hours. The mandatory city curfew has been lifted and the National Guard is demobilizing.

We are also shipping large enclosures and other supplies to Missouri from our distribution center in Tennessee.


HSUS staff and United Animal Nations will enter Natchez, Miss., at the request of the Adams County Sheriff’s office starting May 9 for the flooding expected this week. We will conduct shelter set-up over the next two days, begin with animal intake on Wednesday, and expect a minimum of a two-week operation.

Please make a donation now to keep us in the field helping the animals who need us so desperately

We are fielding multiple supply and personnel requests for other impacted areas such as Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee. We continue to identify needs and prioritize resource allocations and agency partnerships.

Learn how to be prepared for disasters in your area, and help The HSUS stand ready to rescue more animals.

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