Kinship Circle
Oklahoma Tornadoes
Field Notes & Photos

A Promise To Keep…
Kinship Circle Disaster Animal Response Team is in Oklahoma to aid animal tornado victims. Shortly after arrival, we assisted officers in field searches and emergency sheltering. We were asked to help lead operations at Animal Resource Center, one of several officially designated shelters for animals displaced in a tornado that ravaged Moore and parts of Oklahoma City. Your tax-deductible donation can help fulfill our promise to animals here. After tornado headlines vanish, animals are still without homes.


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Photos (c) Kinship Circle Oklahoma 2013

Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison leads our Oklahoma team, based at Animal Resource Center. Above, she comforts an injured “tornado cat.” (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma/Bob Ingersoll

On left, Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison is in Oklahoma with Field Response Manager, Cheri Deatsch. (c) Kinship Circle, 2013

Volunteer Veronica Winterscheidt works in the warehouse, where emergency supplies are continually inventoried and organized. (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013/Bob Ingersoll
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Kinship Circle volunteer Cory Ferguson takes on warehouse supplies organization, lugging lots of loads for animals at the disaster shelter! (c) Kinship Circle/Bob Ingersoll

Linda guides a relieved resident through paperwork to release his dog after the two were reunited at the shelter. (c) Kinship Circle/Bob Ingersoll

Linda Earnhart, part of Kinship Circle's OK team, helps a displaced resident search animal photos to see if his dog is here at Animal Resource Center. (c) Kinship Circle/Bob Ingersoll

Kinship's Bonnie Morrison with one of many families who visit the emergency shelter in search of their animals. (c) Kinship Circle/Bob Ingersoll

Eagle Church, where Kinship volunteers stay, provides food and housing for disaster responders. (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013

Kinship Circle Field Response Manager Cheri Deatsch (lt) and Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison (rt) flank Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Supervisor Wendy Pearson. We have assisted the city's Animal Shelter & Welfare Division with field search-rescue and are managing a shelter for displaced animals. (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013

MAY 31 2013
We Ride Out New Tornadoes, Huddled With Animals Who Survived 5/19 Tornadoes!

SUBMITTED BY: Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle Director
LOCATION: Oklahoma City and Moore, OK

Bonnie texted: “We are waiting out the tornado with animal survivors from first tornado.” 10 minutes later: “A tornado across the street from us. More funnels are coming right now.” In Oklahoma to aid 5/19 tornado animals, volunteers crouched on the floor as new tornadoes swirled around them, one just across the street!

Kinship Circle Disaster Management Director Bonnie Morrison phoned from the floor of Animal Resource Center in Oklahoma City, where she and other volunteers huddled with animals. Bonnie has led sheltering operations at ARC since shortly after a previous tornado ravaged the area.

“I will call you when we are all safe,” was Bonnie's last text for awhile.

Flash floods are reported too. More animals may wind up here, at a time operations had stabilized. “Send us good thoughts… Blackest skies ever seen,” said Kinship's Brenda Shoss.

LEFT PHOTO: Kinship Circle animal responder Cory Ferguson, from Texas, snuggles another dog who survived the previous tornado in Moore, OK. Volunteers and animals clustered in the building's centralized room and spotted a funnel formation across the street. RIGHT PHOTO: Shania, a little girl surrendered to the disaster shelter after the 5/19 tornado, sings her way through a new tornado on 5/31. An OK resident who works at Animal Resource Center provides backup chorus. (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013

From Chaos To Community: Inside A Disaster Shelter

SUBMITTED BY: Bonnie Morrison, Disaster Management Director
LOCATION: Oklahoma City; Tornado-stricken Moore, OK and nearby areas

► DAILY OPERATIONS AT ANIMAL RESOURCE CENTER: Operations Section Chief Mike Pruitt assigned Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch to help run Animal Resource Center with director Barbara Lewis. They divided volunteers to tackle intake, reclaim, warehouse/supplies, and dog and cat areas. Disaster shelters evolve from chaos to mini-communities with section leaders, workers, and a flow of occupants. Bonnie will manage daily operations here until emergency sheltering ends.

► WE ARE ALSO FORMING A CAT TRAPPING TEAM TO WORK AFTER SUNDOWN, when traumatized cats are most likely seen. We cannot do any of this without your support. Please donate to our disaster fund. Your gift gives us rescue mobility. It is how we send skilled responders and give them mobility for rescue, transport and animal care. Any cats trapped by us or other groups are brought to ARC for triage and identity processing. As of today, we have on site:

  • 92 dogs, 1 new intake, 1 reunion
  • 49 cats, 16 in foster
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 gerbil!

We suspect cat numbers will rise. In disasters, dogs tend to come toward people, while cats retreat. Felines are adept survivalists and hiders. But as the days pass with no stable food source, starvation and dehydration drive them out. Most of our deployments begin with dogs, dogs, dogs and end in cats, cats, cats…with a hodgepodge of horses, cows, pigs, bunnies, guinea pigs, gerbils, chickens and others along the way.

REUNIONS: Calista's Meow Rose From Rubble
cat pulled from tornado rubble
Moore, OK school teacher Malia Jorden found her 4 dogs, but her 9-year-old cat had been missing since the 5/19/13 tornado strike. Then, days after lethal winds ripped apart homes and roads, Calista/s soft meow rose from rubble. Alive. Hidden under shreds of glass and metal that had been Malia's home. The relief is incomparable when a beloved animal family member is found alive.

Sad And Scared Till She Saw Mom
chiquita pup found in rubble
Chiquita is beside herself with joy when she sees her mom again. Mom gives plenty of puppy kisses, while Chiquita's entire body seems to grin. A young couple brought Chiquita to the disaster shelter. She was found in tornado rubble, very sad and frightened. The intake crew at Animal Resource Center jotted down “old and fat” in Chiquita's “found” profile for people searching for animals. Her human momma showed up the very next day! Old? Perhaps. Chubby? Well…yes. But every inch of Chiquita is pure love.

Boy And Raye Monroe Reunited
boy and raye monroe reunited
Boy and Raye Monroe were reunited at the moment this photo was taken. You can almost feel the relief flowing through the two of them. Gus, another tornado survivor whom we have no photo for, was also reunited with a dad, mom and kids on the same day. True meaning of home for any companion animal? Family.

Reunions = Smiles

A grandfather is all smiles when he picks up his son's dog from Animal Resource Center, an officially designated shelter for animal tornado survivors. Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch were assigned to coordinate daily operations at ARC. Volunteers Cory Ferguson, Linda Earnhart and Veronica Winterscheidt work in this demanding setting.

Right now, we need people with animal care/handling experience and anyone with serious cat trapping skills. If you want to aid Oklahoma, or are interested in joining future animal aid deployments, please register in our disaster volunteer network now!

Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013

Rescued From Wreckage, But Separated From Their People

SUBMITTED BY: Cheri Deatsch, Field Response Manager
LOCATION: Oklahoma City; Tornado-stricken Moore, OK and nearby areas
Finding Animals

► MORNING BRIEFING — Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch attend morning briefings at a Home Depot used as a command center and triage area. Today they also joined Animal Welfare Supervisor Wendy Pearson at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Dept. and were assigned to ride with officer Mary Droke. Dr. Pruitt, IC for animal operations, asked Bonnie and Cheri to set-up a lost animals database. Each animal will be re-photographed and identified via spreadsheet and bulletin board to reunite people and animals.

A husky, displaced by a tornado that flattened parts of Moore, Oklahoma, temporarily lives at an emergency shelter where Kinship Circle works. Bonnie and Cheri spend time with "tornado animals" rescued from the wreckage and still separated from their people. Most seem lonely and confused. They are grateful for friendly touch and kind voices.

Next stop was Animal Resource Center, an officially designated shelter for displaced animals and Kinship Circle's primary base. Today we met center director Barbara Lewis. During non-disaster times, the Center holds animal events. Now it caters to animals displaced in the tornado and offers myriad resources: food, leashes, collars, beds, cat litter, even baths for weary four-leggers.

Kinship Circle's aid was requested at ARC. Bonnie Morrison leads shelter operations, with volunteers assigned to dog and cat areas, warehouse, intake and reclaim, etc.
While at Welfare Division offices, a call came to pick up an injured dog at a church. But once at Eagle Heights Church, the dog was nowhere to be found. An incredibly helpful staff will keep their eyes open for the dog.

husky tornado survivor

bonnie and husky tornado survivor
dog survived moore oklahoma tornado
Danny Silva's Lab-Pit-Dalmatian mix Ollie somehow survived fatal winds in his kennel as walls collapsed around him in this house. Photo (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma Tornado 2013

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Officer Marcy Droke, with Kinship Circle's Bonnie Morrison and Cheri Deatsch, canvassed tornado damaged areas in Moore and Oklahoma City. Many homes are reduced to twisted metal and wood, their contents strewn for miles. Residents search for anything recoverable. Some animals have been reunited with families or brought to emergency shelters. Animal guardians with no home left to inhabit are directed to Animal Resource Center for supplies and boarding. ARC, one of three officially designated emergency shelters, is where Kinship Circle works.

cow rescue

Cows were badly injured in the storm, some impaled with boards, poles or other airborne debris. Kinship Circle's Cheri and Bonnie joined OC Animal Welfare Officer Marcy Droke to check cows in a rural part of Oklahoma City. They observed cows with severe injuries, such as broken bones or deep gashes.

ACO Mary phoned the Agriculture Department to request a veterinarian at the scene and then spoke to a family whose bull had wandered into a neighbor's pasture. Cheri and Bonnie, who have shepherded pigs and cows from Iowa floods to Brazil mudslides, helped retrieve the disoriented bull.

Photos (c) Kinship Circle, Oklahoma 2013
catching runaway cow
With so many tornado-busted fences, the animal easily roamed from pasture to pasture. Finally, they managed to herd the bull into a fenced area around an oil derrick. Cheri and the man lifted the fallen fence so the son, Zack, could hold it upright. Bonnie tried to lasso the bull, but he evaded her each time. Then Cheri observed the animal's periodic stroll along the fence rim, close to where Bonnie held a gate closed. From that spot, Bonnie successfully looped the rope around the bull's head.

He bucked and reared against the twice. He was not happy (would you be?). “It was actually quite sad how hard he fought and wore himself out. He was terrified and didn't understand what we were doing,” Cheri wrote in her field notes. After much dragging and pulling of humans, the bull was finally led back to his home pasture. Marcy helped cut the rope from his neck, but the bull would not let us get close enough to remove it altogether. Marcy plans to return to ensure the rope has been detached.

On The Ground In Tornado-Smashed Oklahoma

SUBMITTED BY: Cheri Deatsch, Field Response Manager
LOCATION: Oklahoma City; Tornado-stricken Moore, OK and nearby areas

Kinship Circle Field Response Manager Cheri Deastch arrived in Oklahoma City around 11:30am. The city's Animal Welfare Supervisor, Sheridan Lowery, brought Cheri to their department's shelter. After phone communication with Agriculture Department veterinarians, they proceeded to a Home Depot, used as a command center/animal triage site, to sign in. From there, Cheri accompanied Officer Lowery into the tornado-smashed parts of Moore and Oklahoma City.

welcome to paradise

A tangle of metal, plastic, wood, cement…spans the site. It is difficult to tell where one former home ended and another began. People were everywhere, pillaging their own belongings for anything they could salvage.

oklahoma tornado wreckage
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Animal Advocacy  |  Education  |  Disaster Aid  •  •
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