ASPCA Mobilizes to Provide Critical Support for Cats and Dogs Impacted by Devastating Tornadoes

The Kentucky Humane Society has requested assistance from the ASPCA to urgently evacuate homeless animals to free up space for displaced pets in impacted communities
December 13, 2021

LOUISVILLE, KY. – At the urgent request of the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS), the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is mobilizing its disaster response teams to provide critical support for animals impacted by the devastating tornadoes that swept through the Southeast and Midwest late last week. The ASPCA will assist with the evacuation of homeless cats and dogs from Kentucky-based shelters to free up space and resources to care for displaced pets in impacted communities. 

The ASPCA will be relocating dozens of homeless dogs to an emergency shelter operated outside of the impacted communities where they will receive care from ASPCA personnel until they can be placed with partner shelters to be made available for adoption. In addition, the ASPCA is sponsoring a flight of more than 100 cats and kittens from Kentucky shelters to animal welfare organizations in Massachusetts, including Second Chance Animal Services and Massachusetts SPCA, and facilitating the transport of shelter animals to East Coast-based Brandywine Valley SPCA. These cats and dogs were all in Kentucky animal shelters before the tornadoes hit. 

“The ASPCA’s priority is to provide local agencies—including the Kentucky Humane Society—with the critical support and resources they need to help animals and pet owners during this difficult time,” said Susan Anderson, Director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA National Field Response team. “In emergency situations like this, evacuations are often not an option, making the impact of these deadly and unprecedented tornadoes that much more devastating." 

Based in Louisville, the Kentucky Humane Society is Kentucky state’s largest animal adoption agency and provides critical support to under-resourced animal shelters in over 35 Kentucky counties, including Mayfield, which was ravaged by the December 11 tornadoes.

“Over the last three years, we have worked closely with our friends at the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter, providing almost 1,000 low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to local pets and transporting more than 1,600 shelter animals to KHS for adoption. We are heartbroken to see this community we love and know so well shattered by these storms,” said Kat Rooks, KHS Kentucky Initiatives Director.

The ASPCA continues to communicate with Kentucky-based emergency management agencies and animal welfare organizations and remains on standby to provide additional support upon request.

Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced the results of a nationally representative survey where 83 percent of current pet owners reported living in a community that faces natural disasters. The ASPCA deploys nationwide to assist in relocation, search-and-rescue, sheltering, and reunification efforts during disaster situations including wildfires, tornadoes, and floods. The ASPCA also works with lawmakers to increase access to co-sheltering opportunities, a housing approach that keeps people and pets together when they are displaced by natural or manmade disasters.