Pet owners are urged to have an emergency plan in place for their pet after a tornado tore through Oklahoma Monday.
Ingham County Animal Control Director Jamie McAloon Lampman sits on the board of the National Animal Control Association. She tells us today they are trying to round up experienced animal control officers to send to the affected areas. She says the recovery effort that lies ahead for the Moore area is expected to be a difficult one. "We're having great difficulty just getting through, text message seems to be the only way of communicating. Just trying to assess their needs is impossible right now."
She expects shelters in Oklahoma to be overwhelmed with found pets, animals that were separated from their owners during the storm. McAloon Lampman says the best way to make sure pets are reunited with their owners is by micro-chipping them. "A microchip is the best way to get your animals back. These animals are scared, frightened and wandering... so the microchip is going to be a great source. I hate that we have to wait for a disaster to get people inspired to be prepared, but we are going to hammer that point home in the coming days, by urging people to put emergency kits together, get packets ready and other things that can help them reunite with their pet."
McAloon Lampman lived in Norman, Oklahoma before moving to Michigan. She still has family there. "It's been very difficult, having lived there during the Murrow Building bombing and my family is still there... it's just so hard, so close to home. My son was in Moore at the time and said animals were everywhere-- dead and alive. It was very difficult for him to see."
The area where the tornado hit is known as "horse country". McAloon Lampman says there are horse farms all along Interstate 35. "We learned one horse farm alone lost 100 horses yesterday. It's pretty devastating... the horse community is taking an awful hit."
McAloon Lampman is hoping owners take the time to prepare their pets for disasters like the one in Oklahoma. Click on the link below for a helpful checklist and more information on putting an emergency kit together for your pet.