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Storms Keep Animal Rescue Team Busy

Field notes from Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas

Animal Rescue Team

  • The Animal Rescue Team brought this dog to Maryland to relieve the crowding in Mississippi shelters. Pierre Grzybowski/HSUS

Needless to say, this has been a very active week for severe weather. The efforts of the Animal Rescue Team are ramping up in some areas and down in others as the disaster landscape continues to change.


A cement porch and a storm cellar with a white mangled door were all that remained of the Walling family home in Calumet, Okla., after the tornado came through. The Wallings serve on the board of Blazes Tribute Equine Rescue and were fostering rescued horses. The Walling family took cover in the cellar with their dogs and had to be rescued by sheriff's deputies because the debris pile prevented them from climbing out.

Many of their horses died, but some were found miraculously alive although severely injured. The Blazes veterinarian, Charlotte Kin, bravely tended the horses despite what an HSUS staffer described as "combat conditions." Fiona, a little blind Appaloosa pony, had a severe cut to her lip, which Dr. Kin successfully re-attached.

Read more about our recent rescue work, and make a donation to help the Animal Rescue Team.

Two other horses, Moonstruck and Catori, also survived the tornado and are recuperating at a local veterinary clinic.

We have reached out to Oklahoma Emergency Management and the Department of Agriculture to see if we can help them with animal issues.

Natchez, Mississippi

We loaded the rig with 84 dogs going to Gaithersburg for transfer to our Emergency Shelter Placement Partners. Most of the pets in the Natchez emergency shelter have been either reclaimed or surrendered by their owners; fewer than a dozen remain in the emergency shelter.

We are planning for a second transport of the most recently relinquished pets and some additional adoptable dogs from the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society. We will coordinate the transfer of two dozen additional dogs from the Natchez area to our Florida ESPPs next week.

Joplin, Missouri

The shelter reunited 50 pets with their families yesterday. The HSUS has offered to help in any way, but the outpouring of help for the animals has been enormous.


Arkansas state officials asked The HSUS to assess animal needs there after a tornado hit Franklin County. There are many stray dogs and officials are deciding whether they will need an emergency shelter for pets. We will follow up.

Desiree Bender, our state director, found a horse with horrendous cuts requiring veterinary treatment, just like the horses we saw in Oklahoma. Desiree met with the Humane Society of the Ozarks and many other officials in the area and they did find the horse's owner.

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