Why Not?


Reprinted with permission, Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman


A friend had a picture and a posting this morning on her FB page that sent me to a very dark place.

(The above is not the picture, I was asked to pay $75 for that one and declined.)

This entire country has been ravaged for weeks by weather disasters of nearly biblical proportions, and the death toll has been overwhelming, but what many may not know or hear about, are all the animals who also died.

Seeing pictures of injured or dead animals has always cut right through my heart, but being the insatiable, ” I need  an answer person”  that I have always been, my first thought seeing it was, why?

This did not need to happen.

So, here is my second question, for all of you designers, builders, and contractors, etc.

Why can’t we have underground shelters for our animals?

For many of us, our animals are our families too.

I have lived in states from the East Coast to the West Coast, where severe weather events are normal, common, repeated occurrences and we always prepared for them as much as humanly possible.

So, for all of those people who live out in the country, on a ranch or a farm, and have animals, why not a place for them to be safe until the disaster passes?

Oklahoma and many other  “tornado alley”  states, often are able to give extensive warnings of impending dangerous weather, so it could be possible that there would be time enough to save some, or even all animals on a farm or ranch?

I know that this sounds bizarre,  but why not?



16 thoughts on “Why Not?

      • I try to shake some bushes on FB, but most people seem too absorbed in their own little world to care. That is until it affects them directly. So I will continue to speak for those who cannot and rant every now and then when it seems no one cares 🙂

  1. to be honest it does make me wonder why anyone would risk living in Tornado Alley, but they do and as far as humans are concerned they do seem to cope quite well..sort of..but it’s still not for me
    I agree with you there is no reason why an underground bunker could not be built for the animals..it would probably have to be quite big but then I think the expense paid out would be more than repaid by not losing so much livestock. It must be terrifying for the poor creatures.
    Maybe somebody will let us know why this could not be done. It seems reasonable idea to me

  2. In a perfect world I would hope that every living being would have a place to seek shelter and be safe. The first problem might be getting animals to realize danger is approaching and to head for cover. If there is only one horse, for example, simply catching the horse is the first obstacle. Calming the horse and then leading it to the shelter would the next steps. That would take precious time that we may not have. Now, picture a pasture with several animals… That would be a near-impossible feat to accomplish.

    I used horses as an example because you spoke of “farm animals.” I dare to say that even catching and leashing family pets may be troublesome as well. In an emergency situation where time is of the essence, there hardly seems enough time or resources to take the steps necessary to protect family pets and livestock.

    If there were such a safe enclosure as what you speak of, I doubt there would be time enough to gather the animals. We have a difficult time already getting people together and herding them into safe shelter.

    I certainly hear and understand your frustration from your post but I am not sure how my family would even manage in a storm when simply heading to the vet’s office, we have difficulty finding the leash.

    Any solutions out there?

  3. I am originally from Missouri in tornado alley and now living in Florida where tropical storms are a threat and I will soon be moving to California where earthquakes are a common occurrence. No matter where in the country (or even world) you live, you must pick your poison of natural threats.

    I completely agree that there should be some sort of system for animals to be protected not just from tornadoes but from floods and other distasters as well. It breaks my heart when I hear of animals in zoos or stables or other caged situations drowning in floods or being buried in the rubble from an earthquake or tornado. I can’t even imagine being trapped with no hope like that. We humans have set up safety plans for ourselves in natural disasters but with little consideration for animals. Growing up my family always took our dogs to the basement with us when a tornado siren went off. Some animals don’t have that option.

    • Knowing that there are people like you and your family in this world, gives me great encouragement.
      It is wonderful to be assured that the future of animals everywhere, will be in loving hands like yours~
      Thank you, Bless you, for what you are!
      I went from Indiana, to California, to Florida, our paths are amazingly similar.
      Have survived tornados, fires and 3 major Earthquakes, all that matters is that you never give up.

  4. There wasn’t much news coverage of this, but I saw an episode of the Rachel Maddow show where she talked about the fact that there are some places in tornado alley (in the Midwest) where special underground and above ground shelters are built specifically to house people during these storms. I don’t know if they are meant to hold animals, too. The point she was trying to make was that one of the towns that was worst hit had no shelters for people, so the death count was very high.

    I would imagine that the shelters she talked about are probably meant for people, but if there were enough built they should be able to hold both people and animals. She said that there are towns with multiple shelters. I can only hope those shelters are used for animals, too, but who knows.

    BTW, I think that in a disaster, if people who the animal trusts are there to show them to safety, I think it’s definitely possible to get an animal into a shelter.

    • Agreed Tanya.
      When I was growing up in Indiana, many people had tornado shelters and used them.
      Considering the good they do, why wouldn’t every one in the affected areas have them?
      Don’t know the costs involved, but this could be an impediment for those who don’t have them.
      We live in Florida and I would like to have one here because we frequently get tornados with Hurricanes and storms.
      This would however, not be such an easy task as we are surrounded by sand.
      As for animals and shelters, think it could/should be feasible in some cases, anything has got to be better than having them get killed.

  5. I thought the same thing, why not do more to find out how to build affordable structures that can withstand at least the smaller tornadoes that are a given every spring in the midwest. Dome structures have been found to be very wind resistant and strong, (if done right and I would never suggest doing any structure wrong!). Yet, when I lived for a few yrs in OK I rarely saw any dome structures, and from what I learned about them in other states, they are not really that expensive to build comparatively. It just hasn’t caught on. Resistance to an unusual looking idea? I dunno. I can see how an underground structure there might be impractical with their hard, poor draining clay soil. However, small hills, (manmade or natural), could be “underground” structures that are well above any water line. Innovative people need to figure out how to do this; once it catches on, the cost will be more competitive with traditional construction. Very sad for all killed and hurt and made homeless in these storms, whether human or animal.

  6. A VERY good question! I know that when I see those photos of injured and dead animals after a thing like this (well, always) I get sick with the thoughts of the terrible fear they must feel.. Do they understand what happens when the tornado comes? I think that if people choose to live there they really need to do something to protect their animals!

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