While people are trying to outrun the flood with all their belongings, many can't take their beloved pets with them. But thanks to shelters along the Mississippi river and the ASPCA the animals are being rescued and cared for.
A wheat field across Highway 61 has turned into the Mississippi river, it's raining cats and dogs at the Vicksburg Warren County Animal Shelter. The Director, Georgia Lynn said, "We found him outside in the cage this morning. Someone just left him in the pouring rain."
And the nearby creek hasn't stop rising. It's about to come over the bank. "Oh wow look at that. It's usually this is about a 60 Foot drop." "We're just trying to keep ahead of it. So we can house these animals for people that are displaced."
Thursday an ASPCE flood response team rolled in from Florida to help. "We had about 40 adoptable animals that we didn't want to have to put down or euthanized due to space for the flood animals."
They are now headed north. "They are going to 7 different facilities in the state of Iowa." In turn, this overburdened shelter will be able to help house even more local animals. "It freed up 20 dog kennels and 16 cat cages. At no charge for people who had to leave them behind.
This small shelter on Highway 61 south is flooded with animals. Miniature ponies given up by flood victims, chickens, even goats. Tags mark each kennel door indicating flood animals.
No one knows how long these pets will be away from their homes and owners, or even if there will be homes to return to, once the mighty Mississippi rolls on down the river.
Press release from ASPCA:
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the launch of its national Animal Relocation Initiative for shelter animals, which began with 46 dogs from shelters in eastern Arkansas that traveled westward over the weekend to make room for animals displaced by recent flooding, and continued on Monday with over 70 additional dogs from tornado-affected areas in Georgia and South Carolina going to shelters in the northeast. This morning, 15 dogs and 10 cats from shelters in a flood-affected region of Mississippi were loaded onto a trailer headed for West Palm Beach, Fla., and additional relocation efforts for animals in other affected areas are in the works.
The dogs and cats will be made available for adoption following their arrivals at the various destination shelters. Dogs from the initial relocation efforts traveled from Eastern Arkansas to shelters in Kansas and Colorado, and those from Georgia and South Carolina were sent to shelters in New York and New Jersey. The animals are being transported in climate controlled vehicles.
"Our new Animal Relocation Initiative will establish a national network that facilitates the transfer of animals and build a professional collective engaged in the issue of relocation," said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the ASPCA. "We also intend to develop flexible, scalable relocation programs that assure animals are moving the shortest distance possible."
The ASPCA's Animal Relocation Initiative moves animals from areas of oversupply to areas where there are few, if any, similar pets available in shelters for adoption. In these first cases, the ASPCA's Field Investigation and Response Team has been deployed to areas where a large-scale disaster recovery effort is in progress, and the Animal Relocation Initiative is supporting those efforts, working with a network of agencies willing to receive and house animals that already exist in the community's sheltering system.
"Our new program is all about supply and demand," said Sandy Monterose, the ASPCA's senior director of community outreach. "We will be exporting animals—safely, efficiently and humanely—from crowded shelters to regions where space is available. In this case, moving current shelter animals out of the affected area increases the ability of local organizations to help animals that need to be rescued or sheltered until they can be reunited with their families.
"The help we received from the ASPCA was integral in getting our adoptable shelter animals to reputable placement partners," said Kim Adkins, adoption coordinator for the Humane Society of Eastern Arkansas/West Memphis Animal Services. "This allowed us to turn our attention and resources to those animals stranded or abandoned by evacuees, and those in imminent need within our community."
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