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American Humane Association Mobilizes to Help Animal Victims of Devastating Tornadoes and Floods

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Convoy of Vehicles Including 82-foot-long “Rescue Rig” on Way to Tennessee


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3 -- Following the devastating tornadoes that have ravaged entire communities and the extreme flood conditions now threatening more than a dozen southern and mid-western states, American Humane Association (AHA) mobilized its famed Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ team to help the animal victims of these historic disasters.

Red Star, which has a nearly century-long legacy of animal relief, is reaching out with critical help and on-the-ground rescue and support services to local organizations and agencies in the affected regions. Its emergency responders have deployed to provide emergency rescue operations, sheltering and much-needed care to these innocent animal victims. Nationwide, AHA has contacted and extended offers of assistance to Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

American Humane Association has now received a request to deploy in partnership with the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), which received an official request from the Shelby County, Tenn. Office of Preparedness HLS/EMA and the Mayor of Memphis to address the massive flood threat there.  The Red Star team consists of 15 staff and volunteers who will begin work on Wednesday. Their 82-foot-long “Rescue Rig” emergency response vehicle is on the way, complete with a mobile veterinary clinic, crisis supplies, and water rescue craft, and will arrive late Wednesday or early Thursday to assist its Shelter Team, Animal Search and Rescue Team, and, if necessary, a Water Rescue Team. A convoy of support vehicles including a 4-wheel-drive pickup and horse trailer will accompany the Rescue Rig to begin land and water rescues.

The American Humane Association team will also be assisting in the management of a Mega-Shelter with capacity for up to 1,000 animals as flooding rises in both Tennessee and Missouri.  The entire area is expecting extensive need for human and animal sheltering and supplies over the next week.

In addition, emergency grants have been awarded today by American Humane Association to:

  • Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter in Tiger, GA . Rabun County and the localities of Lake Burton and Mountain City were hit hard by tornadoes and both areas have received Presidential disaster declarations.  The emergency has resulted in hundreds cats and dogs displaced from their flattened or uninhabitable homes. Many of the owners of these pets are still missing.  The grant from American Humane Association purchased crates to assist in the long-term sheltering of these animals.  The Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter has set up a database for incoming animals, hoping to reunite them with their families.
  • Bertie County Humane Society, Powellsville, North Carolina Bertie County was devastated by an F3 tornado that ripped through the area literally wiping some houses completely off the face of the earth, causing the deaths of 12 citizens and displacing more than 550 people from their homes.  Hundreds of animals are homeless with many severely injured and in need of continuing veterinary care.  There are numerous stories – some of them incredibly sad. A pit bull named Tornado who has a broken back and needed emergency surgery was found lying next to his dead owner after the storm. A cat with a broken jaw needed major surgery to put her back together. A black lab mix they named Stormy with big wound over his eye was sewn up but no one has yet located his missing family. The grant from American Humane Association is being used to purchase kennels for the Bertie County Humane Society to assist local pet owners in keeping their pets safe while debris cleanup and recovery continues.
  • Greater Birmingham Humane Society of Birmingham, Alabama.  The tornadoes of April 27th were some of the worst in recent history. Many communities across six states have been devastated and many lives destroyed. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society has been tasked by the Alabama Emergency Management Agency to help with the relief effort by providing emergency shelter services. They are assisting hard-hit Tuscaloosa, AL with pet intake from that area and the staging of food and supplies.  The AHA grant will be used for supplies and food to assist in the long term sheltering of these homeless and stranded pets.


Further severe weather and record flooding is predicted in the days and weeks to come. For those who live in one of the affected areas, here are some vital tips from American Humane Association on how to keep your pets and other animals safe:

Some other key techniques to help people and pets include:

  • Tornados - Take shelter immediately with your pets. Take your personal and pet 72-hour kits with you if there is time.


  • Flooding – Evacuating (if possible) is the best way to survive. Take your pets with you when you evacuate, even if you think it will be for a short time. Don’t leave pets chained. Don’t drive through floodwaters. A car can be swept away by as little as 1-2 feet of water.

“Our hearts go out to the thousands of human and animal victims of this developing disaster,” says Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “This is one of the most devastating series of storms in this part of the country in the past century and to those in need we will bring a century of experience and all of our resources in animal rescue. Help is on the way.”
For more news about the Red Star team’s emergency work during these disasters or to support their efforts to help animals in crisis, please go to

About American Humane Association
Since 1877 American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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