COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- A large tornado last month left behind a trail of damage just east of the Brazos Valley in Polk County. In addition to people, there were animals that lost their lives and many others injured.
Reunited: A donkey named Jordan that was severely injured in last month’s tornado in Polk County was reunited with her owner on Sunday and returned to her home in Livingston.
That’s when an emergency team of veterinarians from Texas A&M University jumped into action and responded to the area to help out.
During their four-day deployment, the Veterinary Emergency Team treated almost 90 animals, including Karen Pruitt’s donkeys.
Pruitt, Texas A&M class of ’87, reunited Sunday with Jordan, one of the donkeys that were severely injured. The animal was impaled with an unknown object has been undergoing surgery and rehab at the Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital.
Pruitt, who runs Bar None Ranch in Livingston, cares for rescued horses, donkeys and dogs and updates are posted here on Facebook.
While every VET deployment presents unique challenges, the Polk County deployment was the first during a pandemic. The team had to ensure that for the protection of themselves and clients, members followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on social distancing and personal protective equipment.
The tornado that struck Polk County, which was estimated by the National Weather Service to be an EF-3, cut a fairly narrow path, but did so over several miles, creating a sizeable area of damaged structures that made ascertaining the extent of the impact on the animal population difficult.
The team saw dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, and even a raccoon during the deployment, several of which were trapped under debris or were hiding in debris for extended amounts of time.
The storm caused three deaths, 33 injuries, 173 destroyed homes, and 306 damaged homes. It was later rated as an EF-3 tornado, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
According to the NWS, the tornado was on the ground 32 miles. Its estimated peak wind speed was 140 miles-per-hour, and at its widest, it was 1,100 yards wide.