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Morning Sun
  • Joplin Humane Society working to save animals

  • Her dog is like another child to Kathy McDonald, so she was all smiles as she left the temporary animal shelter with Sophia Marie in tow.

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  • Her dog is like another child to Kathy McDonald, so she was all smiles as she left the temporary animal shelter with Sophia Marie in tow.
    McDonald was not home during the storm. She knew her dog was alive – a neighbor had seen the pup trotting off after the storm, but McDonald was just happy to have her companion of four years back.
    Calls started rolling in to the Joplin Humane Society early Monday. The shelter was at capacity, but shelters in Pittsburg Carthage, Springfield and Kansas City stepped in.
    “They emptied out our shelter so we could take displaced animals,” said Joplin Humane Society executive director Karen Aquino. With close to 100 staff, volunteers and a temporary shelter set up by the ASPCA they are well-prepared to house up to 1,200 animals now, Aquino said. Soon they will begin dispensing food and pet supplies to those affected by the storm.
    Tim Rickey, southeast regional diretctor ASPCA Investigations and Response is from Joplin. He arrived Monday morning and the group immediately began setting up the temporary shelter in the old dent and ding appliance store next to the Joplin Humane Society
    “This is a beacon of hope,” Rickey said.
    Almost 500 pets have come through the doors – dogs, cats, a ferret, rabbits and birds – including parakeets, cockatiels and some 30 chickens. Watching families find their animal is special, Rickey said. Thursday a family of five came in looking scratched and bruised with two on crutches. Once they found their dog there was an immediate hange.
    “They were laughing and joking and cutting up and smiling,” he said. “They found one thing in their life they could cling back onto.”
    Even if families are unable to take their animal to be with them, identification is key, said Kathryn Destreza, southeast regional director ASPCA Investigations and Response. Those reporting to the shelter are asked to bring as much identifying information as possible and a picture if possible.
    “We’re asking to bring what they have if they have it,” Destreza said.
    The shelter will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Organizers ask anyone who is sheltering a dog, but does not know it’s owner to bring them to the shelter so they can be reunified with their families. Pets are also being listed at www.joplinhumanesociety.com.
    Rescuers are bringing the animals in as they find them, but the vast majority were brought in by the general public. Every day there is a new story and new animals added to the list of pet survivors. Connecting them with their families is the final piece to the puzzle, Destreza said.
    “We love them and we walk them and we take great care of them, but we’re not their family,” she said. “This is all about reunification with the owner.”
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    WHAT YOU CAN DO
    Volunteers can register at the Joplin Humane Society, but may be placed on a call list. Donations can be placed online at www.joplinhumanesociety.com or brought to the Joplin Humane Society.
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