Kentucky Tornado Victims Reunited with Lost Pets Thanks to California Man’s Drones

by Taylor Cunningham

A California man is using drones to help Kentucky tornado victims reunite with their pets.

Last week, professional drone pilot Douglas Thron traveled to Mansfield, KY, in hopes of finding animals that had lost their homes after two tornados hit the area on December 10th.

“I saw what was going on with the tornadoes here,” he told WBKO 13. “I figured I could come out here and volunteer and help.”

Thron is a freelance cinematographer who has filmed for publications such as National Geographic, CBS News, and Discovery Channel.

As the pilot wrote in his personal blog, he “pioneered the idea to start using infrared drones with zoom lens and spotlights for animal rescues” while filming footage for television series. And over the years, Thron has used that technology to locate lost animals all over the world.

“Reuniting a pet with someone is an incredible feeling. It’s very heartwarming,” he continued. “These people have lost everything. That animal is a sign of hope that not all has been lost.”

Thron has been hard at work locating animals that have been hiding or stuck inside the wreckage. And so far, he’s found more than 20 cats and dogs.

“They’re definitely traumatized,” Thron continued. “They’re scared, shaking frequently, but they warm up pretty quick. Once you get ahold of them, they get pretty comforted pretty quickly.”

Many of the Four-Legged Kentucky Tornado Victims are Living in Area Animal Shelters

Douglas Thron has been able to return many of the pets to their owners. But for various reasons, some of the animals have taken temporary residence at local animal shelters. In some cases, the owners have not been located or their homes have been destroyed.

And Tron hopes that everyone who is able to adopt or foster a homeless pet will open their homes. As of now, the animals are staying in shelters throughout Mayfield and Dawson Springs.

“Some of these animals may not have people available to give them homes,” he shared. “So, if people have the ability to give these animals homes down the line, there’s going to be a number of animals that are certainly going to be needing homes.”

According to the pilot’s Facebook page, he is currently working “day and night” while trying to save the four-legged Kentucky tornado victims.

And now that all the area residents have been accounted for, demolition crews are starting to knock down all of the homes and buildings that are beyond repair. That means that animals hiding in the rubble could be killed.

“[We] want the critters out of harm’s way and back into the owners’ loving arms quickly.” Thron wrote in a post.

Anyone who wants to help Douglas Thron continue his search can donate to his GoFundMe page here.