Flood Update—ASPCA Responders Search and Rescue in TN

Friday, May 7, 2010 - 3:15pm

While many have their sights on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, four counties in Tennessee have been declared a federal disaster area after devastating floods hit the Southern state. The flash floods killed at least 28 people and put Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House under six feet of water, and have also affected countless numbers of companion animals, livestock and wildlife.

Earlier this week, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team were deployed at the request of the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society to help with the crisis. The ASPCA is currently on the ground caring for more than 70 animals, including dogs, cats and various birds rescued from floodwaters, trees, rooftops and abandoned homes. The team is also continuing the search for additional animal victims.

Thursday morning, in conjunction with the Dyersburg Fire Department, the Field Investigations and Response Team explored the flooded streets using a search and rescue boat. Reports had recently surfaced that a herd of cattle was stranded in a nearby pasture.

"The fire department took us on their rescue boat to survey the flooded area," reports Allison Cardona, the ASPCA's Director of Operations. "But the current was a lot stronger than we anticipated, and it was determined not safe to do the cattle check by boat."

The team immediately began searching for an alternative way to reach the stranded herd. Within hours, with the help of local authorities, they were able locate a small-plane pilot willing to take Cardona on a fly-over of the flooded pasture.

"We saw approximately 35 head of cattle in the affected area," she reports. "Fortunately the water was receding, the cows appeared active, and they had access to dry land."

"Countless numbers of animals have been adversely impacted by the storms' recent destruction and are in need of emergency care," says ASPCA Senior VP of Anti-Cruelty, Matt Bershadker. "We are proud to assist Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society and to be in a position to provide aid for all animal victims."

UPDATE: If you would like to directly help the animals impacted by this disaster—either with donations or by fostering/adopting—please contact the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society at (731) 285-4889 or through its website,