MOORE, Okla. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The ASPCA and North Shore Animal League are in Oklahoma to help with the rescue of hundreds of lost pets that were displaced during Monday’s massive tornado.
The deadly twister, which measured a top-of-the-scale EF5 with winds of at least 200 mph, damaged or destroyed as many as 13,000 homes and affected nearly 33,000 people. The storm killed 24 people and injured hundreds more.
The powerful storm also scattered many pets from their homes and animal welfare agencies from around the area and around the country have been working to find and identify lost dogs and cats and reunite them with their owners.
Earlier this week, both the ASPCA and North Shore sent teams to Moore to help in the effort.
“Much of that neighborhood that was hit by the tornado was a residential area and when you figure that 60 percent of households in the country have a pet, it’s going to affect four-legged members of those families as much as the two-legged members,” Alison Jimenez with the ASPCA told 1010 WINS.
North Shore’s director of offsite operations Anthony Angelletti said one of their Mobile Rescue Units will help house displaced pets.
“It’s basically a shelter on wheels,” he said about their mobile units, which he said can house about 30 animals. “It’s air-conditioned, heated, has two generators, lights.”
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society said they’ve received over 125 dogs and cats and have so far reunited 33 pets with their families.
A lost and found pets website has also been set up for storm victims. It includes updates and information about how many pets have been found and where they are being sheltered as well as pictures and detailed descriptions of any animal that is found.
Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said many of the pets being rescued are in need of food and medical care.
“Money is the big issue right now, getting money to help these pets,” he told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall.
He also said there has been an outpouring of support from Tri-State area residents wanting to help pets displaced by the storm.
“There are people, including here in the New York area, who have offered to foster some of the animals as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, many residents clearing massive piles of debris have also been trying to get hold of essentials such as cell phones and prescription drugs lost in the destruction.
Cell service providers set up mobile retail outlets and charging stations. At least one was offering free phone calls and loaner phones.
Insurance companies have also set up emergency operation centers to take calls from people trying to get prescriptions filled and handle other health care needs.
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