Disaster Response Team Deploys to Joplin, Missouri




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May 23, 2011

Disaster Response Team Deploys to Joplin, Missouri

Will conduct animal rescue and set up animal emergency shelters in tornado-ravaged areas

View photos from Joplin, Missouri

Yesterday, the Humane Society of Missouri Disaster Response Team and Animal Cruelty Task Force wrapped up their rescue and sheltering work in Joplin. The team is now preparing for possible rescue work regarding the Missouri river flood.

HSMO Disaster Response Teams rescued multiple chickens trapped in an enclosure and transported them to safety. Rescuers also removed a cat from under a house and transported her to the disaster shelter at the Joplin Humane Society. A cat and owner were reunited at the temporary shelter being run by HSMO at the Red Cross MSSU location. HSMO disaster responders continue to search the field and bring displaced animals to safety.

50-60 displaced animals were rescued in the field by the HSMO Disaster Response Team and taken to the Joplin Humane Society for care. Rescuers also left food and water at multiple locations for other animals that might be nearby and in hiding. The HSMO Sheltering Team continues to take in and provide care for the animals of those staying in the Red Cross shelter at MSSU.

HSMO Disaster Response Team transported 70 dogs and cats from an overwhelmed veterinary clinic to the Joplin Humane Society. Rescuers continue to search the area for displaced pets and advise anyone who has found an animal to take it to the Joplin Humane Society.

HSMO Disaster Rescue Team has been authorized to canvass the disaster area to assess passability of roadways and areas of greatest need for animal rescue.  The group met with Emergency Management officials this afternoon and is now authorized to begin animal rescue activities.   Already, 2 cats have been rescued near the damaged hospital, one was slightly injured, the other is OK.  The team will also investigate reports of several dogs interrupting human rescue efforts and a report of a dog trapped in a home.

Sheltering of pets of displaced people continues on the Missouri Southern State University campus in conjunction with the Red Cross shelter there.  Animal rescued from the disaster area will be taken to a second shelter at the Joplin Humane Society. Six trained emergency response volunteers and two additional HSMO shelter staff members arrived in Joplin today increasing our on-scene presence to 23 persons.

At the request of the State Emergency Management Agency, today the Humane Society of Missouri is sending a fifteen-member Disaster Response Team to Joplin, Mo. to rescue and shelter pets affected by last night’s devastating tornado.  The team consists of professionals trained in emergency animal rescue and shelter operations and includes a veterinarian to care for sick and injured animals.

  • The HSMO Field Assessment Team will canvass the area searching for and rescuing injured and displaced pets.
  • In conjunction with Joplin Animal Control, the HSMO Sheltering Team will operate an animal shelter on the campus of Missouri Southern State University (MSSU). Persons being housed at the shelter at MSSU will be able to place their pets at this animal shelter. 
  • The HSMO Sheltering Team also will assist in the operation of a separate emergency shelter with the capacity to care for several hundred pets of persons who are not being sheltered at MSSU.

Persons displaced by the tornado who need shelter for their pets should contact the Jasper County Emergency Management Agency at their emergency location in the Recreation Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.   

Donations –

At this time, monetary donations are encouraged. Persons wishing to make donations to assist animal rescue efforts can do so at www.hsmo.org.

How You Can Help -


Our trained Disaster Response Team is currently able to fully support our rescue operations in Joplin. Individuals who would like to assist with relief efforts are encouraged to contact the American Red Cross or United Way's 211 service for volunteer opportunities. If at any point the Humane Society of Missouri begins accepting additional volunteers, information will be available on our website.

Background –

The Humane Society of Missouri has been named by the State Emergency Management Agency as the lead animal welfare agency in response to disasters and other emergencies in Missouri.

In April and May, the HSMO Disaster Response Team spent two weeks in the flooded areas of Southeast Missouri rescuing and sheltering more than 200 animals.