Posted: Sept. 16, 2013, 4:05 p.m. EDT
The American Humane Association is sending the Red Star rescue team to Colorado to help animal victims of flooding that has killed at least seven people and stranded hundreds of residents.
An advance team is already on the ground, said Justin L. Scally, national director of emergency services at the Washington, D.C.-based American Humane Association.
Boulder County Animal Control invited Red Star and another animal welfare group, Code 3 Associates, to assist pets in need and help with emergency rescue operations, the American Humane Association reported Sunday.
"Our Red Star staff and volunteers will be working closely with local authorities and other agencies ... to find, rescue, shelter and make sure animals separated from their families get home safely,” Scally said.
The Red Star effort has financial backing from Mars Petcare US, whose food brands include Pedigree for dogs and Whiskas for cats.
"We’re working closely with American Humane Association to provide critical help where and when it is needed most,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs for Mars Petcare US in Franklin, Tenn.
Parts of Colorado were hit by up to 15 inches of rainfall in less than a week.
"Floods are among the most terrifying and destructive of natural disasters,” said Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., the president and CEO of American Humane Association. "Fortunately, our Red Star team is well-trained and well-qualified to handle this kind of emergency so that we may save lives and reunite families.”
The American Humane Association issued the following tips to pet owners recovering from a flood:
• Use caution when returning home and walking on higher ground. Snakes, insects and other animals may have found refuge there.
• Be cautious about letting children or pets play in or drink ground water. Water may be contaminated.
• Be cautious about all food, which may have spoiled when electricity was interrupted.
• Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
• Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to children or pets.
• Given pets time to reorient. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause a pet confusion or to become lost.
• Keep children and pets away from downed power lines and debris.
• A pet may become more aggressive or self-protective after a crisis. Be sensitive to the changes and keep more room between the pets and other animals, children or strangers.
• Animals need comforting, too. Comfort a pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their home.
The American Humane Association’s Rescue Rig features an operating theater, rescue equipment and accommodations for 12 volunteers.
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