Dogs and cats abandoned in shelters when the tornado struck Kentucky are now in better care.
Florida Urgent Rescue transported dogs and cats out of the destruction in Kentucky to a shelter in Michigan.
After natural disasters like this, animal shelters usually become even more overwhelmed.
“There’s a wave of stray dogs and cats that come into the shelter,” said Mike Merrill, executive director of FUR. “And there’s a wave of owner surrenders that come into the shelter from people who lost their house, they lost their job, they have to move or move in with relatives, and the shelters are already full.”
Merrill said the rescue organization took animals that were there before the tornado out of the shelter to make room for more. Animals are at risk of being killed if the shelters get too full.
“People think, ‘Oh, I only need to support the shelter that was damaged,’” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that just because a rural shelter wasn’t damaged, that animals there aren’t in danger. Because citizens in that county still lost their home. They they’re still impacted so animals are still coming in.”
Merrill says the rural shelters had very limited resources before the tornado.
“They’re stretched thin already,” he said. “And now with the all the animals coming in from the storm, they’re overwhelmed.”
He says a lot of the attention has been focused on the hard hit areas, but there are smaller towns not getting much help.
On Wednesday, FUR completed its first transport.
The organization transported seven dogs and five cats from the Caldwell County and Marshall County shelters to the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan.
“The trip itself was very eye opening and very heartbreaking,” he said. “The devastation was just really difficult to see. Unfortunately, a lot of lives were were lost.”
Animals once in overcrowded shelters are given some space to find forever homes.
In order to transport the animals FUR had to get their vaccinations up to date and get the animals health certificates.
Merrill says FUR will be doing more transports next week.