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Volunteers Train to Aid Animals in Natural Disaster

AROUND ARKANSAS -- A lot of livestock were lost in the April tornado. It became apparent there was a need of more trained animal rescue volunteers to help injured animals.
VILONIA, AR- A group of people in Central Arkansas are prepared to undergo training when it comes to emergency animal rescue. After the April 27th tornado, Faulkner County leaders say it became apparent there was no clear plan to help injured livestock or other large animals.

This weekend in Mississippi, specialized veterinarians will teach Arkansas volunteers how to care for large animals in a natural disaster. Community members say it's important to get more people trained so they know what to do and how to help, if faced with a similar situation again.

"We saw horses that were hurt, big cuts in them," says Donna Waugh, K9 Scent Trainer.

Donna Waugh was with veterinarians and volunteers who worked around tornado debris to save the animals' lives.

"About midnight, in the middle of the field, in the dark, by flashlight they were able to do surgery on both of the horses, both of whom thrived, recovered and are doing great today," she says.

A lot of livestock were lost that night.

"We've lost 121 of them that night and had 70 more that were injured," says Preston Scroggin, AR Poultry & Livestock Commission Director.

They were found injured along a three mile radius, on the ground and in trees. It's a much different scene at Preston Scroggin's Vilonia farm three months later. He says he had no choice but to euthanize his cattle.

"It takes a specialized skill set to deal with them and farmers are really well trained," he says.

Now Scroggin hopes this training course will get others up to speed for if and when disaster strikes. Waugh saw first hand the need for the hundreds of animals who rely on us for help.

"There were so many large animals that you had to get to, lots and lots of acreage and there just aren't enough people," she says.

Arkansas volunteers will undergo training in Mississippi Sunday. A committee is working to get an animal welfare component in the Faulkner County Disaster Response Plan.
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