Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lost, Furry and Found: Agencies Help Reunite Displaced Animals with Owners in Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Lost, Furry and Found: Agencies Help Reunite Displaced Animals with Owners in Oklahoma

Article excerpt

After disappearing from a tornado-shredded house in Moore for three days, Prudence the cocker spaniel has been reunited with her owner.

She was hiding in the closet with her owner, Ricki Finlay, when the tornado hit. Forty minutes after the storm ended, Finlay was pulled out of the rubble by her neighbors. Prudence wasn't there.

"We couldn't find her body, so I had high hopes that she was OK," Finlay said.

Prudence was one of the 83 animals returned to their owners by the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. The Oklahoma City facility received 142 animals after the May tornadoes, said Christy Counts, executive director. Many were severely injured, but all of the displaced animals were held safely in the Homeward Bound quarantine facility on 29th Street.

The tornado rescues were kept separate from the other animals, Counts said.

More than three-quarters of the usual dogs that come to the Humane Society are sick when they get there, and they receive health care for a month before the adoption process begins. Counts called the tornado rescues a different population.

"These are all owned," she said. "They don't have health problems; they have their shots. They are just injured."

The most severely injured animals were sent to animal hospitals throughout the city, including Animal Emergency Center.

The capabilities of those facilities differ from the standard daytime facility, said Laurel Hazard, hospital manager.

"We're set up like an emergency room and we operate that way," she said.

On the night of the May 20 tornado, the facility was flooded with trauma patients. Waves of animals were treated for bone fractures and lacerations.

"It's not abnormal to see that, but the sheer volume was," Hazard said.

Projectile debris caused eye injuries and head trauma. Some came in with bodily impalements, most of which were caused by flying wood and roof shingles, Hazard said.

Although the Humane Society is still in the process of calculating expenditures throughout the past few weeks, it has already racked up about $40,000 in emergency room bills alone. Of the animals that weren't in the severely injured category, many received general veterinary care for free from volunteer veterinarians. …

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