During the week of September 9, heavy rains and catastrophic flooding from Colorado Springs north to Fort Collins destroyed over 1,500 homes, leaving many people and animals stranded.
Numerous rescue organizations—from the national to local level—have banded together to help animals trapped and left behind in the flood waters that have yet to fully recede.
Global Animal Foundation has distributed over $1,300 to these rescue organizations working on the ground along Colorado’s Front Range.
Thanks to our concerned readers, animals in Colorado have been provided with food, water, shelter, and medical care through organizations including:
The American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue Team
Code 3 Associates
The Longmont Humane Society
The Humane Society of Boulder Valley
Invited by Boulder County Animal Control, the AHA’s Red Star rescue team and Code 3 Associates were among the disaster’s first responders to help find, rescue, shelter, and safely return displaced animals home.
Red Star quickly mobilized to help provide emergency rescue operations in the field while working in conjunction with Code 3 Associates, a rescue organization based in Longmont, one of the hardest hit areas by the flooding.
“As far as the numbers of companion animals, this general area, what we call the Front Range, was probably the most impacted of the areas during the flooding incident,” Code 3 Associates instructor/responder Jim Boller said.
While these rescue organizations respond all over the country, Code 3 Associates have successfully rescued over 100 animal victims of this natural disaster including horses, dogs, cats, a gecko, as well as a number of pet chickens.
“While the majority of area residents evacuated with their animals, we were there to help those who were unable to do so,” Code 3 Associates said in a statement.
“All of our responders are schooled and educated in doing in-field triage and evaluations of animals for injuries or situations,” Boller said.
Thanks to donations like yours, Code 3 Associates is able to provide training backed through Colorado State University and the Veterinary School so that firefighter first responders can receive proper training.
“Because of this incident, we’ve actually already done one technical animal training for one of the local fire companies here…And we’re doing another training for several of the local fire departments on October 19th,” Boller said. “People that want to donate, donate for our training efforts.”
With floodwaters now receding, the Red Star rescue team has since demobilized and Code 3 Associates has stood down given that there are many areas with limited access. But recovering from the devastation will be a long process and Code 3 Associates will be on call to return if and when necessary.
Denver-based PetAid Colorado, has also been working on the ground in Adams, Boulder, Jefferson, and Larimer counties as well as the State Emergency Operations Center to assist as needed in the ongoing relief efforts. Personnel have been involved at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and will continue to coordinate companion animal issues as long as SEOC is activated.
According to PetAid, over 500 animals were displaced by the Colorado floods and approximately 380 of them were in local shelters by the end of September, awaiting reunion with their families.
Through the PetAid Disaster Services program and the Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (COVMRC), PetAid is helping care for these displaced and evacuated pets.
Members were deployed to help with animal care for evacuated residents in Boulder County who were airlifted from some of the hardest hit mountain communities. COVMRC members were sent to the Longmont Humane Society on Friday, September 13, and to Boulder Municipal Airport on Sunday, September 15 to provide triage and medical care for pets rescued from the affected areas.
One of PetAid’s favorite reunion stories involves a dog named Bo, who was airlifted out of the flood zone. When he came off the plane and met with COVMRC members on the tarmac, Bo had a bag of treats and a note tied around his neck that read:
“My name is Bo. I am 13 and will be picked up by [guardian’s name]. His # is [telephone number] or Aunt Kim [telephone number] or [Name and telephone number]. Please be good to me I am old but a good dog! I am hard of hearing or seeing!”
Rescuers provided him with a thorough medical examination, and quickly called his guardian. Though his guardian had already evacuated, she immediately came to pick up her beloved pet. A happy reunion, indeed!
PetAid Colorado’s Director of Development, Sharon Brown, said:
“What’s interesting about disasters is that there’s a lot of outpouring during a disaster, but the real need comes later, when the recovery has begun but relief efforts are still needed.”
PetAid Disaster Services and the COVMRC are currently working with Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Longmont Humane Society, Larimer County Humane Society, and other local animal care responders to provide shelter for evacuated and displaced pets.
“Local humane societies were housing for those individuals that were evacuated with their pets but didn’t have a place to put them at no cost,” Code 3 Associates’ Boller said. “Supporting the local humane societies and shelters in the area is always a good idea. We always recommend it whenever we go into a disaster situation.”
Over 70 pets separated from their families in Colorado’s historic floods are currently living at Humane Society of Boulder Valley.
“We are providing free temporary housing while owners figure out their housing,” Humane Society of Boulder Valley CEO Lisa Pedersen said.
An additional 220 pets—including dogs, cats, rats, snaked, lizards, geese, and more—are being housed at Longmont Humane Society. Many lost animals are still arriving daily.
“We’re doing what we can to be a resource to those affected and we will continue to help in whatever ways we’re able,” Executive Director of Longmont Humane Society, Liz Smokowski, said.
The shelter is still welcoming pets, but the facility is above capacity and operating on an already paper-thin budget. In November, Longmont Humane Society will have to pay a hefty $772,000—which is only a fraction of the $3.1 million they need to keep the facility up and running.
“Well before this flood emergency we had a personal emergency with our building as a whole,” Smokowski said. “We are facing a possible foreclosure.”
The financially burdened shelter is also seeking donations in preparation for possible health issues including giardia, which can be contracted from pets drinking or wading in contaminated water.
“We’re doing what we can to be a resource to those affected and we will continue to help in whatever ways we’re able,” Smokowski said.
These shelters need your help now more than ever.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
DONATE: Global Animal Foundation continues to accept donations to help animals affected by the Colorado floods. With countless animals left unclaimed and in need of care, these disaster relief programs need your help more than ever.
Without the help of concerned Global Animals, these organizations are unable to make such a strong difference and help these animals affected by natural disasters. Thank you once again, Global Animal readers! Your compassion in action and support of Global Animal Foundation is saving the lives of animals in crisis.
See your donations at work in the photo gallery below.