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Disaster Relief Needed Following Oklahoma Tornadoes

A series of twisters tore through several communities in the central U.S. yesterday, where relief is arriving for residents and their pets displaced by the devastation.

An Associated Press article describes the category EF-4 tornado that flattened entire neighborhoods in the city of Moore, Okla., as measuring “a half mile wide” when it hit the community of 41,000.

Monday’s tornado killed at least 24, including at least 10 elementary school children. Thousands in this suburban community located 10 miles south of Oklahoma City have been displaced by the devastation, and many have sought refuge in area shelters.

MSNBC reports that search and rescue teams have been deployed to the area, where residents remain buried under their homes, schools and businesses. Eighty National Guard members are assisting in the rescue operations.

Damon Wirth and George, and Andrew Pitcher and Chief search in Moore. Photo courtesy National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Damon Wirth and George, and Andrew Pitcher and Chief search in Moore. Photo courtesy National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Searching for survivors are more than a dozen dog-and-handler teams, nine of them trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Early Tuesday, the NDSDF reported “pouring rain off and on, making the search even more difficult. We are getting periodic calls and text messages from the handlers, letting us know how well the dogs are searching in tough conditions. To give some perspective on the magnitude of the situation our handlers are faced with, here is one of the text messages we received from a handler as he arrived on scene: ‘Devastation. Near tears.’” Teams currently in the area are from Nebraska Task Force 1, Oklahoma Task Force 1, Tennessee Task Force 1 and Texas Task Force 1.

As recovery efforts are under way to rescue those trapped in the debris, the American Kennel Club has mobilized in the area to donate “crates, bowls, leashes, pet microchips and scanners” for the care and management of pets displaced by the tornado.

The AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund was established in the wake of 9/11 as a “permanent charitable fund with the goals of providing resources, support, funds and other assistance” to search and rescue handlers and their dogs, veterinary units that provide support to canine rescue teams, and not-for-profit animal shelters and organizations that care for “orphaned and displaced” domestic animals in the aftermath of “natural or civil disasters.”

The impact of the Oklahoma tornado will surely be felt for years to come, but the need to assist residents and their pets is immediate. For those looking to help, donations can be made with AKC CAR here.

All of us here at Best In Show Daily extend our deepest concern for the well-being of those affected and the losses they’ve suffered. We encourage anyone who needs help, or is able to offer assistance, to utilize our Facebook page to connect with others in the dog community.

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