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Oklahoma horse toll hits 150, cataloguing under way

The death toll of horses now stands at 150 in the wake of the massive tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.

Officials have been cataloguing identification marks and photographing the dead animals before disposal in the hopes they will eventually be identified by owners.

Among the missing horses are three owned by Carrie Moore.

Among the missing horses are three owned by Carrie Moore.

The heavy toll was taken as the tornado, which topped the Fujita scale for strength, cut a swathe through an area of farms on the southern border of Oklahoma City before ploughing through the built-up area of Moore.

The twister ploughed through the popular family attraction, the Orr Family Farm, as well as the adjoining horse training and agistment facility, Celestial Acres.

Aerial photographs show the tornado scored a direct hit on Celestial Acres but, miraculously, 34 horses survived.

The tornado claimed 24 human lives.

Several organizations have been co-ordinating rescue efforts and cataloguing the dead animals.

Joe Lucas, executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, reported that the death toll now stood at 150 or more in the wider Moore area.

There are plans, he says, to post photographs of both surviving and deceased horses for identification, in a process being supported by the thoroughbred group and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association.

It is understood that most of the surviving horses have been identified and claimed by owners, or identified through their markings.

An official lost and found site, has been set up in a bid to help reunite owners with pets.

The site said it was official site for Oklahoma City and the City of Moore, and features images and details on lost and found pets.

At the time of writing, there were listings for a found bay mare, a found donkey gelding and miniature horse, and information on three lost horses.

It is unclear at this stage where the catalogued details of dead horses will be published, but Horsetalk will publish the details once known.

It has been reported that one horse named Sasha’s Image, a three-year-old unraced thoroughbred mare, was found more than 24 hours after the twister passed through.

She was rescued from beneath fallen stable doors after people heard her whinnies.

A male donkey is among the equine found so far in Moore.

A male donkey is among the equine found so far in Moore.

Meanwhile, the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association have created a Benevolence Account for horsemen impacted by the storms.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Oklahoma following this horrific event,” they said in a statement.

“There are many horsemen who have been affected by this tragedy and have lost everything they own.

“Celestial Acres, which rents out stalls to multiple trainers, took a direct hit along with the highly publicized damage at the Orr Family Farms. Both horsemen’s organizations along with Remington Park in Oklahoma City are working together in coordinating relief to horsemen that have been affected by the storm.

“Both offices have been encouraged by the outpouring of support and offers for help from across the country; it truly displays ‘horsemen helping horsemen’.

“Many of those horsemen have lost everything – horses, possessions, tack and equipment, and their homes. They have many needs that cannot be met by traditional social agencies.”

The two groups will be jointly accepting donations for horsemen affected by the twister. All donations will be distributed directly to horsemen and their families that were affected by the storms. Details of how to donate are below.

State officials have set up an animal hotline for those seeking information on lost horses or pets. The number is 405-837-7240.

In other news, the cleanup is continuing on the Orr Family Farm. Roads are now open and the Orr family says it now able to accept help from volunteers, with a working bee planned for Saturday from 8am.

Volunteers are asked to enter from Western Avenue and park in the main parking lot.

More information can be found on the farm’s Facebook page.

 

Donations to the Benevolence Account set up by the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association. If you want to make a donation using a credit or debit card please call OQHRA at 405-216-0440. Checks should be made payable to either TRAO Benevolence Fund or OQHRA Benevolence Fund and put 2014 Tornado on the memo line. 

Tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma.

Tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma. © Maj. Geoff Legler, Oklahoma National Guard

Horsetalk.co.nz

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