Huge crowds arrived early Saturday morning, June 25, for the tornado pets adoptathon held by the Joplin Humane Society and the ASPCA. Over the last month, since Joplin, MO was hit by a devastating tornado, the two organizations have worked together to shelter about a thousand lost or displaced animals and reunite as many as possible with their families.
This weekend the several hundred cats and dogs remaining were made available on a fee-waived basis to qualified adopters. The event ran Saturday and will continue Sunday. Saturday’s event was so successful that people were turned away by mid-afternoon. Approximately 600 cats and dogs were adopted.
In addition to adoption fees being waived for this event, adoptable animals will be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated, and provided an ID tag free of charge. Additionally, all the dogs have been evaluated by the ASPCA animal behavior team to assess temperament and personality in order to make the best possible match with potential adopters.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would adopt all of today’s cats but we DID. BUT…We have a lot that will be ready and available tomorrow,” said a joyful Karen Aquino, JHS Director.
At one point, cars from 24 states were spotted in the parking lot. A bell was rung every time a pet was adopted, making for a noisy day.
A statement released late Saturday by the ASCPA said, “We are completely floored by the amazing outpouring of support at today’s adoption event at the Joplin Humane Society. Thanks to the generosity of pet lovers like you, and the inspiring resilience of Joplin’s residents, hundreds of pets left homeless by last month’s tornado are sleeping in new beds tonight.
In fact, as of this writing, almost all the animals at our emergency shelter have been adopted. If you had plans to drive to Joplin tomorrow to show your support, we would like to encourage you to visit your favorite local shelter instead. You can make just as meaningful an impact by adopting a pet from your local shelter. And we’re certain there are many sweet and lovable animals waiting patiently for forever homes in a shelter near you.”
The story was covered by some national news reporters, including NBC Nightly News. The event will continue Sunday with remaining animals available for adoption, even animals from surrounding areas in need of homes.
Since May 23, the day following the devastating tornado, the ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society have been working around the clock to track down the owners of lost pets through grassroots outreach, paid advertising including flyers, ads, public service announcements, and stories in the media. The mandatory 14-day holding period for animals affected by the disaster was even doubled in an effort to reunite as many people and pets as possible.
To date, the ASPCA has provided emergency sheltering for nearly 1,300 animals. More than 400 have been reunited with their owners, and 600 became available for adoption. Approximately 300 others include those being boarded by families temporarily displaced and animals not yet ready for adoption, such as newborns and injured animals.
The ASPCA provided the Joplin Humane Society with a $100,000 grant to support disaster relief and recovery efforts, and has established a $500,000 grant fund for animal welfare groups affected by disasters across the country.
Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society did accept some dogs for adoption from other tornado ravaged sites in the South earlier this year. Several have found homes in the Albany area.