Oklahoma City’s Orr Family Farm, extensively damaged when hit by a massive tornado on Monday, reports that all animals in its petting zoo and animal barn survived the twister.
The popular farm attraction, run by Dr Glenn Orr and family, reported that the farm’s riding ponies for children, Annie, Joey, Sister and Lil Bit, also survived.
At the adjoining property, an agistment and training facility named Celestial Acres, which is understood to be run by Dr Orr’s son, Tom, 34 horses have survived.
Orr Family Farm spokesman Tony Vann said the prognosis for those horses was very favouorable, adding that their survival had been a miracle.
The news comes as the death toll in Oklahoma stands at 24, as authorities continue to pick through neighborhoods flattened by the tornado.
The family and staff at Orr Family Farm, working within a cordon imposed by authorities, are still trying to assess their animals and the damage to the farm.
Reports have indicated that 75 to 100 horses may have perished in the tornado, which flattened entire neighborhoods close to the farm during the 40 minutes it spent on the ground.
Orr Family Farm staff member Lando Hite told KFOR news about the storm hitting the farm. “It was just like the movie ‘Twister,’” he said. “There were horses and stuff flying around everywhere.”
Vann said there was no count at this stage on animals lost.
He told Horsetalk that numbers were difficult to assess, as there were horses on other farms nearby to the Orr Family Farm and Celestial Acres that had also been badly hit. It was not easy to identify such animals at the present time as they moved among the debris.
He said the family and staff were working in difficult conditions, with overcast conditions, rain, and the threat of more thunderstorms.
He said that there was sufficient feed supplies on site at present to keep the surviving animals going.
“They don’t need them now, but that’s not to say they won’t need them in the future.”
Vann said the offers of help and messages of support had been wonderful.
He said those wanting to help in the recovery should stay put for now, as authorities had established 68 points of entry to the disaster zone and only emergency responders or those living in the area were being permitted through.
It was still a rescue and recovery situation, he said.
On its Facebook page The Orr Family Farm thanked readers for their “generous offers of support, prayer, kind messages and offers of goods and monetary donations.”
A PayPal account has been set up for those who wish to help the Farm.