A group of passionate BC SPCA staff headed south on June 20 to help hundreds of rescued pets in Joplin, Missouri. They have joined the ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society who are caring for animals in the aftermath of an F5 tornado that struck on May 22 leaving a mile-wide swath of destruction.
More than 150 people are dead and many homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. The ASPCA is managing an emergency shelter operation to assist the local humane society and help provide care for animals affected by the natural disaster.
BC SPCA staff who volunteered for the week-long assignment include Kim Monteith, Lower Mainland animal welfare supervisor, Kim Moffat, Kamloops Branch animal care attendant, Sheri Maxwell, volunteer coordinator for the BC SPCA Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon branches, Leon Davis, Nanaimo Branch manager, Paula Griffin, Provincial Office supply clerk, Lorelei Johnson, Maple Ridge animal care attendant, Melanie Parent, development officer, individual giving, and Iris Ting, animal transfer manager. Their tasks comprise ongoing care for cats and dogs, reuniting pets with their families and administration.
"It's been getting hotter and more humid out," says BC SPCA staff member and Joplin volunteer, Iris Ting. "Some of us have suffered sunburns, exhaustion and sore feet from being on concrete floors all day. But, the experience is beyond amazing and we feel fortunate that we could be here." The dedicated volunteers are pushing their limits, working an average of 12 hours each day in temperatures that feel like 40 degrees with the humidity.
The ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society built a temporary shelter adjacent to the humane society in a warehouse where hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens have found relief. Since then, more than 477 animals have been reunited with their families.
Some Joplin residents have lost everything, including family members, and their beloved pets may be all that is left of their former lives. As the community begins to pick up the pieces and rebuild, there are more than 700 animals still in need of new homes.
The ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society have scheduled a special adopt-a-thon this weekend. A large number of local animal lovers, as well as those from neighbouring states, are expected to attend. The event will provide the chance to make a difference in the devastated community and give people the chance to go home with a grateful new family member.
For more information and to support animal rescue and reunification in Joplin, please visit aspca.org/joplin.
The BC SPCA provides care and protection to more than 34,000 animals each year. Your gift can help give a homeless, injured or abused animal a second chance. Please donate today.
Photo caption: The ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society are caring for
animals and reuniting pets with families in the aftermath of a
devastating tornado. Credit: ASPCA
The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization funded primarily by public donations. Our mission is to prevent cruelty and to promote the welfare of animals through a wide range of services, including cruelty investigations, emergency rescue and treatment, sheltering and adoption of homeless and abused animals, humane education, advocacy, farm animal welfare, spay/neuter programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.