Disaster Response Team

Disaster Response Team

The Animal Cruelty Task Force has been designated the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) as the lead animal welfare organization to respond to emergencies and disasters in Missouri. HSMO’s Disaster Response Team rescues and shelters animals when floods, tornadoes, blizzards, extreme heat, ice storms, earthquakes and other emergencies occur.

Special training and state-of-the-art equipment allow the Animal Cruelty Task Force to handle even the most difficult rescues.


Members of HSMO’s Disaster Response Team work to rescue a cat from a flooded trailer park in Arnold, MO. They bring the kitty, who survived the catastrophic flooding by floating on it’s litter box, to safety.
The disaster team rescued four cats by boat on the afternoon of December 31, 2015 and the Humane Society of Missouri is provided emergency shelter for nearly 60 animals whose families were displaced by the flooding.


Spring 2011 was unprecedented for devastating weather events in Missouri. The State Emergency Management Agency designated HSMO as the lead agency responsible for animal rescue when natural disasters occur across the state. HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task sent a 23 member Disaster Response Team to Joplin, MO, to rescue and shelter pets affected by the devastating EF5 tornado on May 22.

Extreme Heat

During summer’s record-breaking stretches of 100 degree plus days, the Animal Cruelty Task Force responds to hundreds of heat-related calls concerning animals in possible jeopardy. The heat is extremely hard on animals unable to protect themselves. We see too many pets with inadequate, or no shelter from the sun, and not enough water.

Despite frequent PSAs, billboards and other community outreach, each summer we respond to dozens of calls about frantic dogs locked in hot cars.

It’s easy to remember: 70 Degrees and Over, Don’t Take Rover!

Ice Storms

Disaster Response Team 2009 Ice Storm

In February 2009, at the request of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Humane Society of Missouri’s Disaster Response Team set up animal rescue operations in New Madrid, Missouri, to assist with feeding, watering temporary shelter for pets of owners with no water or electricity in New Madrid, Butler and Pemiscot counties hit hard by recent ice storms.

Mutual Aid


At the request of Iowa City Animal Control and Code 3, the Humane Society of Missouri is deployed the Disaster Response Team to Iowa on June 11, 2008 to assist with animal rescue in the hard hit, flood ravaged areas of that state. The team consisted of four highly trained and experienced rescue staff who performed dozens of land- and water-based animal rescue.