On May 22nd 2019, State and Local Officials recognized that flooding was going to be devastating along the Arkansas River due to the massive amounts of water being released from the Keystone Dam. The town of Skiatook located roughly 20 minutes north of Tulsa was already under water due to the Bird Creek flooding. Many roads were washed away or flooded leaving people and animals stranded.
Neighbor for Neighbor’s Director of Operations, Shawn Thomas recognized that people and animals were being displaced from their homes and knew something had to be done to help the community. Shawn reached out to Spay Oklahoma and Oklahoma Alliance for Animals and partnered with them to start an emergency shelter for displaced pets. Neighbor for Neighbor utilized one of our vacant spaces (9,200 Square feet) in the Northland shopping center. NFN’s employees made building repairs and prepared the facility to accommodate the anticipated arrival of animals. Over the next few days NFN employees helped clean crates, walk dogs, and feed cats before and after their normal work hours.
On May 26th Officials announced that starting on May 27th at 7:00am they would be releasing 275,000 cubic feet per second out of the Keystone Dam. Mandatory evacuations were issued with fears that the levees in the area would give way.
The facility at Neighbor for Neighbor was at capacity and all new animals were being redirected to other shelters. Around 5:30pm on May 26th, a Neighbor for Neighbor employee received a frantic phone call from a woman that was being evacuated and had no where to take her pets. She tried to drop her three dogs and three cats off at another temporary shelter but they were closed for the evening. Shawn contacted the OAA and decided to accept more animals at the NFN facility. From 6pm -2am 55 dogs and cats were taken in.
A week after the evacuations most dogs and cats have gone home but we are still housing multiple animals at NFN that have not been picked up or claimed by their owners. We will continue to help the community in any way we can. Thank you to all of the volunteers and NFN employees for all of the hard work that has gone into taking care of all the animals.
Neighbor for Neighbor will continue to help flood victims with food and clothing as we have for over 50 years.
Food, clothing, and monetary donations are welcomed and needed after the increase of clients in need.