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ASPCA Relieves Animals Affected by Severe Flooding in Tennessee and Missouri

Responders provide emergency rescue, sheltering and transport for more than 1,000 displaced pets
May 3, 2011

NEW YORK--At the request of local authorities and animal welfare groups, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is providing relief for animals affected by severe flooding in Pemiscot County, Mo. and Shelby County, Tenn. Since last week, the ASPCA has assisted more than one thousand animals throughout several states in the south.

The ASPCA disaster response team spent the past few days in Shelby County, Tenn. working with Memphis Animal Services and the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County to establish an emergency shelter to prepare for severe flooding. The emergency shelter will provide temporary housing for a large number of animals, where they will be cared for until they are reunited with their owners. Agencies assisting on the ground include American Humane Association, Code 3, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"Pets are members of the family, and we realize how stressful it can be to leave your pet behind," said Kathryn Destreza, Southeast director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "It has been a challenging period for both people and pets in communities affected by the disaster, and the ASPCA is pleased to be able to help as many animals as possible during this difficult time."

Additionally, the ASPCA is partnering with PetSmart Charities, Inc. to establish a distribution center in Memphis, Tenn. where pet food, sheltering supplies, and crates can be distributed throughout the region to various local agencies in need.

"PetSmart Charities also dispatches teams of specially trained volunteers to the scene," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "The volunteers are able to unload supplies and set up the temporary shelters very quickly, enabling rescuers to immediately tend to the animal victims. We are happy to be able to assist in this way and help these pets receive the care and comfort they need and deserve."

Pet owners who need sheltering for their pets should go to the emergency shelter located at 1716 N. Shelby Oaks Drive in Memphis, Tenn. The ASPCA asks that pet owners bring vaccination records, carriers, leashes/collars, and instructions for pets with special needs.

In Pemiscot County, Mo., ASPCA staff and volunteers continue to respond to emergency rescue requests and sheltering of approximately 200 animals displaced by flooding. The ASPCA transported nearly 60 animals from Caruthersville Humane Society in Caruthersville, Mo. to various rescue groups throughout Missouri and Kansas. The animals were permanently relocated to allow the local shelter the capacity to accept incoming animals. Agencies that quickly stepped forward to support the ASPCA's relief efforts include the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri (Springfield, Mo.), Wayside Waifs (Kansas City, Mo.), and Animal Haven (Merriam, Kan.).

The ASPCA assisted other communities in Arkansas and Kentucky with sheltering needs, transporting displaced animals to temporary shelters, conducting field assessments, and offering supplies such as pet food to residents in the community. All supplies were generously provided by PetSmart Charities.

"The ASPCA is extremely grateful for the collaboration between national and local agencies that combined efforts to help animals in need," said Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "The ASPCA is committed to helping pet owners and animals impacted by the recent chain of natural disasters, and we will continue to do everything we can to help these communities as long as we're needed."

For information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please click here.