KHS helps tornado victims
The images on the nightly news were shocking: lives cut short, homes and dreams destroyed, communities in ruin. The March 2 tornadoes left a path of destruction and violence that affected thousands of people in Kentucky and Indiana.
Also affected were cats and dogs—the storm's silent victims.
Within hours, animal welfare organizations were on the ground, assessing damage and evaluating what needed to be done to save lives. The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) worked around the clock with many local and national rescue groups to help cats and dogs impacted by the tornadoes.
One of the communities hit hardest was West Liberty in Morgan County, Ky. Six people were killed, and dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed. The Morgan County Animal Shelter quickly found itself overrun with stray pets who had lost their way during the storm.
That's when KHS Operations Director Karen Koenig received a call from Pam Rogers with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a national organization not affiliated with KHS: Would KHS be willing to take in pets who were at the shelter before the tornadoes hit, freeing up much-needed kennel space for lost companion animals?
"Of course we were happy to help," says Karen. "Any time there are natural disasters in our area, we are happy to open our doors to animals in need."
On March 10, KHS received 20 Morgan County dogs from the HSUS rescue transport team. Ten dogs were destined for the adoption floor, and another ten were to be housed at KHS until another rescue group could pick them up.
KHS also took in 32 cats and dogs from Clark County, Ind., which suffered extensive tornado damage. Animal shelters in that area and rescue groups saw a huge influx of animals lost in the storm. Some were left homeless after properties were destroyed, including Windy (see story below) and Stormy, a beagle who suffered a broken leg. Almost all of the pets KHS took in from storm-damaged areas had been adopted by press time.
One special tornado survivor saves another's pups
Three days after the March 2 tornadoes hit southern Indiana and central Kentucky, the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) received a desperate call from a local rescue group: they had several dogs who needed a place to stay immediately.
One of these dogs was a beagle. She and her three puppies were left homeless after their caregiver's house in New Washington, Ind., was destroyed by a tornado. The KHS staff named her "Windy" and placed the young family in a foster home to relax, regroup and allow the pups a bit more time with Mom.
Windy and her puppies thrived. After a week, the puppies began eating solid food, and Windy began pushing them aside—a sure sign they were old enough to be weaned.
KHS then received another call for help. There were ten, two-week-old Labrador retriever puppies whose mother had been injured. She could no longer nurse her hungry puppies and, unless a surrogate mother could be found, these puppies were in trouble.
Although Windy had already been through a lot, she was asked for just a bit more, and she responded. On March 10 KHS Animal Care Manager Kristin Seaman introduced Windy to five of the puppies. It was love at first sight. Windy accepted the hungry puppies, and they began nursing. KHS was able to find another surrogate mother for the other five puppies.
"Seeing the lives and livelihoods destroyed by the tornadoes was heart breaking. But Windy's journey is a testament to the healing power of love," says Lori Redmon, KHS president and CEO. "Windy's devotion reminds us that, by working together, we can get through any tragedy."
After giving so much to others, brave Windy found her new home in April.