Kentucky Shelter Overrun With Displaced Pets After Devastating Tornadoes

by Liz Holland
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Following the Kentucky Tornadoes, people are missing. With so many humans misplaced, their animals have nowhere to go as shelters fill up.

The Mayfield-Graves Animal Shelter in particular is overwhelmingly full. The Board president of the shelter, David Spalding told DailyMail about the situation.

“Today we’re moving a little over 100 animals to other rescue organizations just to make room,” Spalding said. “We’ve never been through a situation like this.”

According to the Board president, he spoke with folks who have experienced these situations. He learned animal displacement is a common occurrence following natural disasters.

Spalding continued: “Cats, dogs, right now the animals are scared, especially the ones that have completely lost their home. That was their comfort zone.” While the shelter is grateful to still be standing after the devastating storms, they are rapidly running out of room. 

Kentucky Tornadoes: Death Toll Continues to Rise

Volunteers at the shelter are outfitting some of their animals with microchips. The Humane Society of Kentucky is then transporting them to other states that have more room in their shelters.

“Right now we’re working with Kentucky Humane Society and other organizations to help remove the animals that we’ve already had here… [And] take to other rescue organizations so we can take in other animals, the hurt and the injured, that have been affected during the storm,” Spalding told DailyMail.

The death toll in Kentucky has now climbed to 80, and Kentucky governor Andy Beshear says there is only more to come. “That number is going to exceed 100. This is the deadliest tornado we have ever had,” Beshear said.

As death tolls continue to climb, so does the number of injured and misplaced animals. “The animals don’t have a place to go back to so it may take a while for them to calm down and come out where they’re visible and we can actually catch them and bring them in,” says Spalding.

However, the shelter hopes that the microchips will help the animals and their owners reunite. “We figure that some of these folks may be displaced for one or two weeks,” Spalding said. He continues, adding, “I haven’t been sleeping much. I’m overwhelmed, yes, but manageable.”

The Animals Will Recover With Time

Initiatives Director of the Kentucky Humane Center, Kat Rooks, told the Courier Journal her thoughts after helping transport some of the animals. “This is going to be a long, long recovery there,” Rooks said.  “Animals are coming in surrendered by good Samaritans. Animals coming in as strays. [Workers] are going out and assisting search-and-rescue teams and helping to remove animals from properties that have been devastated. They are already seeing an influx and expect that to continue.”

Rooks continued, “There were a lot of tears on Saturday. ‘These are my friends, people that I know, I work with closely. People that I know lost everything there.”

According to Governor Beshear, over 100 people remain unaccounted for. However, there is hope for that number continuing to shrink. Hundreds of National Guardsmen along with FEMA are diligently searching for survivors and helping displaced families. Governor Beshear said of the efforts, “I believe this is the most rapid response from the federal government in the history of the United States of America and we need it and we are really grateful for it.”

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