Pet Rescue Launched In Flooded Coffeyville

Tuesday, July 3rd 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

More than 200 homes are underwater in Coffeyville, Kansas, and it’s not just high water residents have to deal with. A large oil spill during the flood covered everything it touched with a slimy, smelly layer of goo. The water is receding, but many people are still not able to get back into their homes to check the damage. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports people aren't the only ones coping with the terrible flooding in Coffeyville.

Carl and Nona Pendleton are spending their 30th wedding anniversary worrying.

"It's something that you never think is going to happen to you. It always happens to somebody else, until it hits you in the face and you realize hey it happened to me. There is really no words to describe the feeling," Coffeyville resident Nona Pendleton said.

At 73, and never experiencing anything like this, the couple is concerned about what recovery will mean.

"Probably like most people, when do we get back in? I'm not sure when we see it, we'll want to. But I'd still like to know when," Carl Pendleton of Coffeyville said.

But most of all the Pendleton's are worried about their cats, Kitten and Cuddles. They had to leave them behind when they quickly evacuated. That's where Code 3 steps in. A team of volunteers with the non-profit Colorado based group is going door to door, street by street to rescue stranded pets. The animal rescue group travels across the United States and Canada to rescue animals during natural disasters. They responded to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but Coffeyville's flooding poses a special problem because of all the 42,000 gallons of oil that spilled into the Verdigris River which flooded Coffeyville.

"The toxins in the water are extremely dangerous to the animals,” said Kay Mayfield with Code 3 Pet Rescue. “When they don't have any water, they will drink the water. They will eat something that has been in the water and that can cause internal problems."

The toxic water can cause chemical burns and severe intestinal problems if the animals drink it. Rescued pets are decontaminated, treated by veterinarians if needed, and reunited with owners. Despite their efforts, volunteers haven't found Kitten and Cuddles,

"We've been in there, but two gray cats we did not find," Mayfield said.

But they'll keep trying. The Pendleton's will have to keep watching and waiting and hoping that their pets and others are found safe and sound.

Cleanup of the toxic sludge will complicate long-term flood recovery efforts for Coffeyville. The floodwater is receding, but forecasters say it could be early next week before all streams in southeast Kansas rivers fall below flood stage.

Watch the video: Volunteers Rescue Pets From The Flood

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.