Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Trip to Joplin

This last weekend, Tango and I went to my old hometown, Joplin, Missouri. Almost a year ago, Joplin was struck by a violent tornado. Below is a slideshow from our visit:

We took the tour with our good friend, April Brill, who spent over two hours showing us the devastation. April is an ANGEL in that she has been helping connect "Tornado Animals" with their owners since that time. There are many pets needing homes and I asked April to write a story that we could post on our blog to help give these animals a second chance.

"On May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri was struck by a catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado. It ranks as one of Missouri's and America's deadliest tornadoes and is also the costliest single tornado in US history. People were not the only victims of the Joplin tornado. Officials said they rescued 944 pets and reunited 292 with owners during the early post-tornado period. Although many pets were reunited early on, well over 100, and possibly several hundred, are still displaced and are in need of help.

Joplin Tornado Pet Rescue is a group of individuals who have banded together to help reunite pets displaced by the Joplin Tornado with their owners. Our long term goal is to share what we have learned and to get processes and laws changed to increase the likelihood that pets will be reunited more quickly and efficiently in the future when displaced as a result of a disaster. The group.formed due to increasing posts on Animals Lost and Found with sightings, and from rescuers wanting assistance with rescuing animals they discovered. We have collected photos, descriptions and locations where the animals are missing, on Animals Lost and Found. We also have partnered with the Joplin Humane Society and have scanned all their lost and found reports and have compiled them into spreadsheet (along with our own reports) where we track their status. We have also taken the addresses from this spreadsheet and have mapped their locations. The combination of these tools allow us to quickly find matches.

Because of the staggering amount of homes destroyed in the tornado, many pet owners were forced to leave the area in search of housing. It is unknown whether pet owners purposely left their pets behind, feeling overwhelmed with their losses,whether the pets were believed to have died in the storm, when in fact they survived but were unable to be located, or whether the owners are still hoping to be reunited with their fur-babies but, are unable to look for them because they no longer live near Joplin. Whatever the reason the result is the same. Many pets are displaced, and the Joplin Humane Society has been at capacity, or overburdened, since the tornado. Our group is still taking found pets to JHS on a regular basis and we need your help. When a pet is unable to be reunited with their previous owner it is placed for adoption. Some pets are quickly adopted, while others wait for someone to open their hearts to them. Unfortunately, the Joplin Humane Society (Joplin Animal Adoption and Resource Center) is not a no-kill shelter, and sponsorship of these animals is needed to ensure they will remain available for adoption.

Sponsorship is $60 per animal, with those funds going toward vaccinations, and neutering/spaying of the animals which have not previously been altered. Would you be willing to adopt one of these forgotten tornado pets? Many are available to choose from. If you cannot adopt a pet would you be willing to sponsor one, or more, until an adoptive parent is found? Remember, these pets didn't ask to be separated from their homes and forced to live in rubble and destroyed structures as a way to survive. They don't understand why they are hungry, and are forced to hunt for whatever food they can find. And they wonder when they will once again feel the touch of a human hand stroking their fur. You could be their hero. Joplin Tornado Pet Rescue chip-in link:

Joplin Humane Society Animal Adoption and Resource Center 1-417-623-3642 (if sponsoring please mention you want it applied to a Joplin Tornado Pet Rescue animal"

Thank you April to you and everyone at the Joplin Tornado Pet Rescue for helping our four-legged friends!

In the slideshow, you will also find photos of our visit with our friend, Mountain Doo and his pet parent, Rob. We had a wonderful visit and we look forward to going back to Joplin again very soon!

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