The cleanup after this past Saturday’s Garland, TX EF-4 tornado continues nearby. Most of the news coverage has come from other suburbs in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex (e.g., Glenn Heights and Rowlett). There is a reason for this—those are the only affected suburbs that are mostly open. The “Red Zone” in Garland is still mostly off-limits. In fact, police were blocking even verifiable residents from returning to what was left of their homes until late yesterday. Those still in the zone were being allowed out, but not back in. This resulted in some folks who escaped damage, but who also had no utilities.
One such person was a friend of mine, who was spared any damage.
My wife took it upon herself to make a carry-out food run for them yesterday. She met them at the “border,” where no one could get in or out. It took her a while to get there due to various blocked streets, but once there a Garland police officer allowed her to bring the food to our friend rather than force him to carry four breakfasts back to his house. I am proud of my wife for her initiative in this matter and am thankful she found a policeman with compassion enough to let her in.
Today finds the situation relaxed a bit. Verified residents are being allowed in and out, and the “Red Zone” has contracted to include only the absolutely worst-hit areas.
My wife’s main concern after that of our friend’s family has been the capture and return of pets—primarily cats—who were separated from their owners. She has worked with Garland Pawsibilities, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, for many months now, primarily in the Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats. Since the tornado, the organization has been part of Garland Animal Control’s official efforts in trying to round up lost pets. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that some of the untrained persons who have shown up and volunteered to help have been getting in the way at times. The police blockades of the hardest-hit areas haven’t helped either, but at least that part has been understandable.
The worst problem she’s faced is that a couple of “rescue programs” have tried to worm their way into the situation. I know that one hadn’t received a 501(c)3 non-profit ruling (which only the IRS can give), while another’s status was dodgy to say the least. Group one was booted out, while the other is on the edge of pushing themselves out.
It’s sad to see so-called “experts” show up at such a scene and try to take advantage of the situation. Granted, there are always scam artists who prey upon disaster victims at times like these. Still, it’s a very low thing to try and use a victim’s love for their pets in a similar manner.
To end this update on a positive note, the police blockades will be relaxed for official organizations such as hers as part of the “Red Zone” contraction today. She will be out in the area, trying to trap lost and frightened family pets. It’s a huge undertaking, especially considering the weather and the overall devastation of the area. I wish her the best of luck and hope she returns unharmed.
Questions? Comments? Please feel free to leave them on the Contact page.