As a nation, we are in pain right now. Over the past few weeks, we have watched as devastating storms ravaged entire communities in more than a dozen Southern and Midwestern states. We have seen the images of lives ruined, homes destroyed — and animals separated from the families who love them.
On May 3, our Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ team mobilized to provide rescue and sheltering to animal victims in Shelby County, Tenn. — one of several areas declared to be a Federal Disaster Area by President Obama. Fifteen of our highly-trained staff and volunteers deployed with a convoy of support vehicles, including our 16-wheel, 82-foot-long Rescue Rig; a four-wheel-drive pickup truck; and a horse trailer.
Right this very minute, these courageous women and men are putting in 15-hour days to help as many of these desperate animals as possible. Flooding is rampant in this area near Memphis, and the waters of the Mississippi River continue to rise. Among the deployment’s early triumphs, our Red Star team led a boat operation to rescue three German shepherd dogs and four cats stranded in the floodwaters.
In collaboration with our partners —American Society for the Prevention of Animals (ASPCA) and PetSmart Charities— we have prepared a temporary shelter to accommodate up to 1,000 animals. Our team will care for the animals until there is a possibility of reuniting them with their families. In addition to these on-the-ground rescue services, we have provided grants and other support for local animal sheltering organizations and agencies in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
During natural disasters like this one, animals are too often forgotten — that’s why American Humane Association remembers. Like you, our thoughts are with all of the victims, both human and animal, who are suffering from this national tragedy.