"After a month of housing and caring for the animal victims of this disaster, our focus now is on finding loving homes for the remaining cats and dogs," said Joplin native Tim Rickey, the ASPCA's senior director of Field Investigations and Response. "We hope people from across the country will open their hearts and give them a second lease on life."
"The outpouring of support from the local community has helped us connect hundreds of displaced animals with their owners, and we thank everyone for their heroic efforts," added Karen Aquino, executive director of Joplin Humane Society. "Our goal now is to find families who will adopt the remaining four-legged tornado survivors, which is in everyone's best interests."
"Over the past week, the number of people coming to the emergency shelter to look for and claim lost pets has dwindled to a trickle," added Rickey, who also noted that even in the best of circumstances, conditions in an emergency shelter are never ideal. "Having suffered and survived a disaster of this magnitude and spending weeks in a temporary shelter, these animals have demonstrated an incredible level of resilience and are more than ready for the comforts of a permanent home."
Adoption fees are being waived for this event, and 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.
Both agencies are lining up other activities as well, such as tours of the ASPCA Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, a specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensics tools as well as medical equipment tailored for animal patients. In addition, the Missouri Emergency Response Service team will conduct large animal rescue demonstrations, and there will be food, music and other family-friendly activities.
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 are 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.
For more information on the weekend adopt-a-thon and adoption application form, please visit http://www.joplinhumane.org/adoptathon.html or www.facebook.com/JoplinHumane.
More Information on the ASPCA/Joplin Humane Society Weekend Adopt-a-thon for Tornado Pets:
WHEN: Saturday & Sunday, June 25 and June 26; 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Emergency Animal Shelter located next to the Joplin Humane Society (140 E. Emperor Lane, Joplin, MO 64801).
HOW: Potential adopters should bring with them one government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver's license, passport, military ID, or non-driver ID) and proof of address.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org.
To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca.
About Joplin Humane Society
Joplin Humane Society was incorporated with the state of Missouri in 1948 and has serviced Southwest Missouri since its inception. Currently AARC accepts and is contracted for sheltering animals from 17 municipalities as far reaching as Vernon County, Branson in Taney County and Southeast Kansas. The population served is more than 199,000 and the Society accepts approximately 13,000 animals each year.