ASPCA Leads Sheltering Effort for Animals Affected by Violent Tornado in Joplin, Mo.

<p>Joplin native Tim Rickey heads team of responders providing temporary housing for displaced pets</p>
May 24, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Joplin Humane Society in Joplin, Mo., has dispatched its disaster response team to lead emergency sheltering efforts and assist in field rescues of animals displaced by this week's devastating tornado.

Tim Rickey*, a Joplin native and senior director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team, arrived Monday morning, May 23, following the tornado's deadly aftermath to help local agencies establish an emergency shelter that will provide temporary housing for owned animals until they are reunited with their families.

"We hope to alleviate the stress for pet owners by temporarily caring for their animals," said Rickey. "The destruction caused by the tornado is indescribable, and our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this disaster--people and pets alike."

Through its shelter response partnership network, the ASPCA coordinated the transport of nearly 150 animals from the Joplin Humane Society to Wayside Waifs (Kansas City, Mo.) and the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri (Springfield, Mo.) to enable the Joplin shelter to accept incoming animals displaced by the disaster.

"We're ensuring that existing shelter animals are out of harm's way," said Rickey, who added that many of the dogs and cats rescued so far are suffering from lacerations, broken bones and eye injuries that appear to have been caused by the storm. "The ASPCA will continue to provide ongoing assistance, personnel and resources in Joplin as long as we're needed."

The emergency animal shelter, where owned pets will be housed indefinitely, is located in an empty warehouse facility at 5171 North Main Street, near the Joplin Humane Society.

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is supplying two "Emergency Relief Waggin'" vehicles filled with much needed sheltering supplies such as crates, blankets and bowls. The ASPCA is also working in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri.

Residents wishing to report lost pets or rescue needs should contact the Joplin Humane Society at (417) 623-3642.

*About Tim Rickey
Tim's 20-year career has been devoted to protecting animals, first as an animal control officer in Joplin, Mo., and then as a statewide animal cruelty investigator. Rickey is regarded as a national expert in disaster response and led recovery efforts following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, major floods in Iowa, Tennessee and Kentucky, and multiple Missouri incidents including ice storms, floods and tornados. He also directed field operations for large-scale rescues in states throughout the Midwest and Southeast and was instrumental in ensuring that animals are included in statewide disaster planning throughout Missouri.