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Finding Pets After the Storm

Not too far from where the tornado hit in Joplin is a place where many tornado victims are finding a part of their lives that they thought might be lost forever. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

When the tornado tore through Joplin Sunday night not only did families lose their homes and most everything they owned, they also lost something equally as cherished—their pets.Monday morning when daylight arrived and highlighted the destruction that the tornado left behind, members of the MO Humane Society and ASPCA began moving thru the area to try to capture animals that had survived the storm.The Joplin Humane Society began moving their adoptable animals to shelters in Springfield and Kansas City to make room for the pets. Leslie Thurman, director of the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, says they took in several dozen pets from the Joplin shelter…Leslie1By late morning Thursday, the Joplin Humane Society had taken in nearly 400 pets with more streaming in and 67 had been returned to their owners.I got to witness the reunion of the 68th…“we found us an owner”/”I missed you so much”Chris Volkman was out of town when the tornado hit…Chris1The small dog and her puppy lived thru the violent tornado that ripped apart their home.Chris’s roommate found the puppy the next day, but it would be three more days before the mama was found…Chris2Chris’s dog Zeena was the 1st pet after the tornado hit to be brought to the Joplin Humane Society.A volunteer walked by with a dog on a leash who had clearly just recently had puppies. Her babies hadn’t been found. The shelter’s executive director Karen Equino says some of the animals being brought in are injured—some seriously—and 12 veterinarians are volunteering to help them. Vet clinics are also on standby to help…Karen1A clinic just off the main lobby is where injured animals are treated…Karen3A large black and white dog cowers in a cage in the corner. He was severely injured in the tornado. His owners have identified him but don’t have a place to care for him. He’ll stay at the Humane Society until his owners can take him home. Sound-emergency shelterNext door to the Joplin Humane Society in what was once an empty warehouse is where the ASPCA has set up an emergency shelter capable of holding 500 plus animals. That way the pets are in a central location and can hopefully be reunited with their owners…Karen2Police are on alert to watch for rescue groups that aren’t authorized to capture the animals. The Humane Society of Missouri has a team on the ground that’s also on the lookout and Joplin, Taney County and Jasper County Animal Control is also patrolling the devastated area.Aquiro says to have lost everything and then not be able to find your pet on top of that is devastating.If you’d like to help, the Joplin Humane Society is in need of monetary donations. They’ve received plenty of food and in fact are planning to distribute what they don’t need to victims of the tornado who have pets.The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in Springfield could use donations of cleaning supplies such as bleach and paper towels.Its director Leslie Thurman also encourages people thinking about adopting a pet to consider doing so now to free up space.If you’ve lost a pet in the tornado, there’s a website you can visit to view rescued pets. It’s joplinhumane.org.You can also visit the shelter at 140 Emperor Lane 8 am to 8 pm every day of the week.