ASPCA Responders on Scene in Dyersburg, Tenn.

More than 70 animals recovered so far following storms and flooding
May 6, 2010

NEW YORK – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), under the authority and request of the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society in Dyersburg, Tenn., has dispatched its field investigations and response team to assist in the recovery and sheltering of animals displaced by recent flooding.

ASPCA responders arrived Tuesday afternoon and are helping care for more than 70 companion animals, including dogs, cats and various birds that were rescued from floodwaters, trees, rooftops and abandoned homes in the Dyersburg city limits, approximately 80 miles north of Memphis. The ASPCA has established a temporary shelter behind the humane society to handle the overflow of animals, and set up a decontamination station where animals affected by the flooding are washed and cleaned. In addition, the ASPCA provided extra cages, bowls, food industrial fans, and other necessary supplies to help care for animals.

The ASPCA's Joel Lopez, left, and Tiptonville, Tenn. animal control officer Chandra Davis washing a rooster outside the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society, where the ASPCA has established a temporary shelter and decontamination station for animals impacted by recent flooding.

"Our city has been declared a disaster area and many neighborhoods have been evacuated," said Dr. Carol Feather, president and co-founder of the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society, which services all of Dyer County, Dyersburg and Newbern. "We're grateful for the ASPCA's assistance, and to our own staff and volunteers, all of whom have been working non-stop to help animals that are abandoned or lost. We want to save all the animals we can--that's our job."

The Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society's animal control officers have been navigating some areas in a small motor boat to access abandoned pets. Most of the 70-plus pets received so far are owned and were removed from homes at the request of owners who were forced to evacuate. They will be housed at the humane society until they are claimed, according to Dr. Feather.  Residents wishing to contact the humane society may call (731) 285-4889 or visit in person at 1120 E. Court Street, Dyersburg, 38024. Volunteers high school age and over who are interested in caring for animals at the shelter may also contact the humane society.

Allison Cardona, the ASPCA's Director of Disaster Response, said the temporary shelter has "helped ease the strain on the already full humane society." She added, "The Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society and its staff and volunteers have been extremely dedicated toward the pets in their community during this life-threatening event. The ASPCA will continue to provide supplies, support and manage the temporary shelter and decontamination area, an important component in this operation, as long as we're needed."

According to Dr. Feather, all incoming animals are given a physical exam, and if veterinary records cannot be located, they are being vaccinated as a precaution.  "A few pets have already been claimed, but the rest we will be holding onto until their families get situated," she said. "In most instances, even if they have identification, we're not yet able to reach their owners because they've had to evacuate." Dr. Feather added that the Humane Society is not charging owners for boarding or vaccinations.

In addition to the ASPCA, local businesses assisting Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society include Hollywood Feed, which provided cages, and Pet Stop, which relieved the organization of some of its adoptable pets so room could be made for incoming animals.

"We are making sure that the animals' immediate needs are being met, and that they receive appropriate care," said the ASPCA's Cardona. "The ASPCA is glad to be in a position to provide relief."