IFAW deploys animal rescue teams after deadly storms strike U.S. South

Tuesday, 3 May, 2011
Yarmouth Port, Mass.
Animal sheltering and water search and rescue (SAR) teams are on the ground in Shelby County, Tennessee today to assist animals during the intense flooding. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) dispatched 11 trained responders from both New England and Louisiana after receiving a request to assist from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) who received an official request from the Shelby County, Tenn. Office of Preparedness HLS/EMA and the Mayor of Memphis.

The storm system that plowed through the South last week spawned some of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history and caused widespread flooding in the region. Many weather forecasts are predicting increased rain and floods in the coming days across the Southeast and Midwest.

In Tennessee, the human death toll has risen to 36, and more than 200 people remain in shelters.

An emergency mega-shelter for animals, donated by Belz Enterprises, is being set up in a warehouse on Shelby Oaks Road in Memphis and will be expected to house around 1,000 animals.

“Rivers and creeks are quickly rising and local authorities here at Shelby County are instructing everyone in flood-prone areas to be ready to evacuate,” said Gail A’Brunzo, Emergency Relief Officer for IFAW. “We strongly advise all of the pet owners in the area to identify a safe haven for their animals immediately and never leave them behind, no matter how safe it may seem at that time”.

IFAW's 36-foot animal rescue trailer, funded by Petfinder.com Foundation, is en route to Tennessee and will provide much needed support to the teams involved in the operation.

"We are proud to be supporting these important disaster efforts, says Liz Neuschatz, Executive Director of the Petfinder.com Foundation, by assisting with rescue and recovery, we know that homeless and relinquished pets will be safe until they are able to return home."

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
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Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
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Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy