Oklahoma Tornado Pet Rescue Efforts Begin Amid Widespread Destruction

Life With Cats is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

Rachel Hilton holds stray kittens she found in the debris of her parents’ home after a tornado struck south Oklahoma City and Moore, OK, Monday, May 20, 2013.
AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Nate Billings


Rescuers and animal lovers are already pulling pets from debris, setting up lost and found listings online, and providing treatment and temporary housing to pets affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes.

As we saw with the well documented animal rescue efforts that followed the Joplin, MO tornado of May 2011, domestic pets often become buried in debris and and are displaced in great numbers as homes, streets and entire neighborhoods are flattened when a major tornado hits a residential area, leaving lost animals frightened and disoriented. Local rescuers and animal lovers are already hard at work helping pets affected by the stunningly destructive tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma in recent days.

If the pattern seen in Joplin and other natural disasters is repeated in Oklahoma, the rescue effort to help displaced pets will not end any time soon. Cats, in particular, are difficult to capture once their familiar landscape is destroyed, though they typically remain nearby. Months from now, a second wave of homeless pets may emerge, with beloved pets seeking new homes as their families are forced to give them up due to economic hardship or a shortage of pet friendly housing.

The effort to help the lost injured, and displaced pets affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes may continue for many months to come. For now, though, rescuers are looking for trapped animals and those running loose, so they can be brought to safety.

Maeghan Hadley of 1 Day Ranch, a pet rescue and rehabilitation center, reaches for a kitten pulled from underneath the rubble of a mobile home destroyed by Sunday’s tornado in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park near Shawnee, Okla., May 20, 2013.


Headed to Moore…. This is bad guys… Really bad…

Maeghan Hadley, Tuesday May 21, via  1 Day Ranch at Facebook


Maeghan Hadley is the woman in the black tee seen in a viral photo (below) holding a little gray kitten rescued from the debris at a trailer park destroyed by the tornado that struck Shawnee, OK on Sunday.  Maeghan operates 1 Day Ranch Equine and Canine Rescue and rehabilitation Center in Shawnee, which was spared, and she is actively engaged in the animal rescue effort in both Shawnee and Moore, which suffered massive destruction from a powerful tornado yesterday.

Local rescuers and animal lovers are hard at work, as others from away mobilize to help with the effort.  A Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals at Facebook page and the OKC Metro Area Lost and Found Pets website are already posting lost, found and reunited photos and listings. Meanwhile, the Home Depot store in Moore and the Benchmark Animal Hospital in Perkins are accepting pets in need of shelter during the crisis. The Home Depot is looking for housing for displaced animals.  McClain County Animal Response Team (McCART) and the Animal Resource Center are both taking animals, treating them, and holding them as they wait for their owners.

For more information and updates, please visit the Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals page at Facebook.


Maeghan Hadley, of 1 Day Ranch checks over the kitten pulled from under the rubble of a mobile home destroyed by Sunday’s tornado in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, near Shawnee, OK
AP Photo Sue, Ogrocki


“It took myself and 6 other search and rescue workers digging through a massive pile of rubble to find this little girl…. She’s ok though!” – Maeghan Hadley
via 1 Day Ranch at Facebook


Kay James holds her cat as she sits in her driveway after her home was destroyed by the tornado that hit near Oklahoma City.
AP Photo, Chris Landsberger,  May 20, 2013


( Steve Sisney / The Oklahoman / May 20, 2013 )
Alli Christian, left, returns Jessica Wilkinson’s dog, Bella, to her after finding the pet in the wreckage of Wilkinson’s home shortly after a tornado struck Sunday.


Rescuers search for lost animals after tornadoes hit Shawnee, Okla.
Marcus DiPaola / Xinhua / MCT / May 20, 2013



3 thoughts on “Oklahoma Tornado Pet Rescue Efforts Begin Amid Widespread Destruction”

  1. I want to come and help the rescue efforts in OK is that possible? I would like to know any information before driving from Colorado.

  2. From what I’ve been hearing on the news, first responders are saying to wait, as trained responders are the only ones being let through at this time. If you can, make a donation to a trusted charity that is actively working there now. Once the locations are safe, I’m sure there will be lots of groups that will be going in and helping with rebuilding projects. It’s after the hot news stories stop that the people will really need your help. “The public” will start to forget–that’s when the people of Oklahoma will really, really need you to be there in person to lend a hand.

Leave a Comment