American Humane Association to help animal victims of Joplin disaster

Staff reports

After the devastating tornado that ravaged Joplin, Mo., American Humane Association has mobilized its famed Red Star Animal Emergency Services team to help the animal victims there.

Red Star, which has a nearly century-long legacy of animal relief, is reaching out with critical help and on-the-ground sheltering and support services to assist with emergency operations and provide much-needed care for innocent animal victims. The team is just coming off its rescue efforts in Memphis, where floods of historic proportions affected uncounted numbers of domestic and wild animals.

American Humane Association is deploying in Joplin in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at the request of the Jasper County Emergency Management Agency.  The Red Star team consists of 13 staff and volunteers who will begin work tomorrow. Their 82-foot-long "Rescue Rig" emergency response vehicle is on the way and is expected to arrive late Thursday, complete with a mobile veterinary clinic, food and water, and crisis supplies.

The American Humane Association Red Star team will be assisting the Joplin Humane Society, whose staff is not only grappling with the magnitude of the disaster but has personally suffered devastating losses from the tornado and needs time off to attend to their families and what may be left of their homes.  The Red Star team will also be assisting at the Emergency Animal Shelter.

In addition to the deployments in Missouri and Tennessee, American Humane Association has been providing emergency grants to states across the South and Midwest that have been hit by severe weather, including Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina. Red Star has been part of almost every major national relief effort since 1916 from the Great Ohio Flood of 1937 to Hurricane Katrina to Mount St. Helens and 9/11.

Further severe weather is predicted in the days and weeks to come. For those who live in one of the affected areas, here are some vital tips from American Humane Association on how to keep your pets and other animals safe: .

"We are heading down to Joplin to help in this terrible time of need," says Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "The destruction and loss of life is overwhelming and the community will need help in rebuilding, physically and emotionally. For all those affected, please know that America's thoughts are with you and help is on the way."

For more news about the Red Star team's emergency work during these disasters or to support their efforts to help animals in crisis, please go to