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Pet, Owners Reunited After Storms

May 7, 1999

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Mr. Kitty hates garbage men. Tyson responds to German commands. Now they’re gone, two of the hundreds of pets still missing after tornadoes swept through Oklahoma.

Mike and Connie Cook were at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter when it opened Thursday in hopes they would find Tyson, their 7-year-old boxer.

``He’s got four whites socks and a real big chest,″ Cook said. ``He follows German commands. He’ll sit if you say `platz.‴

The Cooks slowly looked through the rows of kennels. Nothing.

Officials at the shelter said 60 dogs, five cats, two horses, a goat, four sheep, a cow, a duck, a parakeet and a snake were brought in after Monday’s storms. Some of the battered animals could hardly open their eyes.

Dogs huddled in corners, their tails still as visitors approached.

Many animals have been reunited with their owners.

The last thing Mary Huff of Moore saw when she and her family retreated into a bathroom Monday was her Siamese-mix, Tilley, flying across the kitchen. Her other cat, Squeaky, ran upstairs as the storm approached.

When the family emerged, the two-story house was flattened and there was no sign of the cats. As family members picked through the rubble Thursday, a cardboard box crushed under a gun cabinet yielded a welcomed surprise.

``We’ve got one more part of our family,″ Mrs. Huff said, cradling Tilley against her chest.

``Let me take a photo,″ her daughter, Sheri Harris, said as she leveled her camera. ``It’s a Kodak moment ... If we find the other one, our family will be complete.″

Midwest City resident Adolfo Garcia wept when his dog, Missy, was found amidst the rubble where Garcia’s home once stood.

``God’s gift. It’s a gift,″ he said.

Bret Ashby brought the shelter two black dogs that wandered into their yard Tuesday.

``We don’t know if they’re part of the same litter, but they won’t leave each other’s side,″ Ashby said.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent three officers from Texas to Oklahoma City to assist with displaced animals. A Web site also was created to list lost and found pets.

Margit Cummings choked back sobs as she described her tabby cat, Mr. Kitty. She put him in the bathroom before the tornado hit.

``I just want him back,″ she said. ``He’s my baby.″

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