Amid the devastation left by the massive tornado that raked Moore, Ok., a small miracle of sorts took place Wednesday. A dog was found alive in a pile of rubble that had been bulldozed.
It was a high point for people searching for lost or trapped animals, including members of Longmont nonprofit group Code 3 Associates.
Eric Thompson, director of disaster response for the animal rescue group, gave a report via telephone Thursday about the grim aftermath of the massive May 20 twister, which killed 24 people. Code 3 workers have been there assisting most of the week.
“Searchers were still finding a few animals yesterday,” Thompson said. “People survived but their animals got lost.
“Small animals ae still living in in partially demolished structures. Workers put down food and water for them. Then they try to catch them,” he said. Once caught, they are taken to one of three area animal shelters.
Thompson compared the devastation to the tornado that ripprd Joplin, Missouri. He said the situation in Moore is “winding down.”
Code 3 Associates specializes in animal rescue in disaster areas. Thompson was in Joplin, too, as well as other disaster scenes. Emergency managers deployed animal rescuers to Joplin three days after a tornado leveled much of that town in May 2011.
The group took its mobile command center to Moore – a White Western Star truck that tows a 53-foot converted moving van — to sustain the team during rescue efforts, including water needs and sleeping accommodations for up to 11 people.
According to its website, Code 3 Associates, Inc, is dedicated to providing professional animal disaster response and resources to communities, as well as providing professional training to individuals and agencies involved in animal related law enforcement and emergency response.
That mission is accomplished through hands-on animal rescue and care operations during disaster events in the United States and Canada, and through the group’s certified animal welfare training seminars, which include animal cruelty training for investigators.
Code 3 Associates has five full time employees, 16 instructors and an unpaid volunteer. In addition it has at least 75 professional responders around the country working for Code 3’s mission
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