Joplin Humane Society, ASPCA Host Adoption Event and Free Microchip Clinic to Commemorate Five-Year Anniversary of Joplin Tornado

“Paws in the Park” adoption event held at Parr Hill Park as part of Joplin Proud events
May 12, 2016

Joplin, Mo.—The Joplin Humane Society and ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) will hold an adoption event and free microchip clinic on Saturday, May 21, in Parr Hill Park to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the 2011 Joplin tornado. The event—called “Paws in the Park”—is part of Joplin Proud, four days of events to recognize the progress made since the disaster hit and decimated a third of the community.

The “Paws in the Park” adoption event is taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with free microchipping for all pet owners on a first-come, first-serve basis from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All animals available for adoption have been microchipped, spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Pet ID tags donated by the ASPCA will be available for adopters and pet owners. All pets are welcome at the event and should be leashed and current on vaccinations.

“We rescued thousands of lost and abandoned pets after the tornado,” said Tim Rickey, a Joplin native and vice president of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. “Fewer than five percent of those animals were microchipped, and it was incredibly challenging to reunite lost pets with their owners. We hope the community will learn from this tragedy and get their pet’s microchipped. It could be their ticket home if they become lost or disaster strikes again.”

“We learned a very valuable lesson in the aftermath of the storm,” said Connie Andrews, Shelter Services Manager at the Joplin Humane Society. “Pet owners in our community were not prepared for the disaster, and there was no way to help lost pets get back home. We decided our organization would never add to that problem by adopting pets into the community without a way to get home. Since the tornado, the Joplin Humane Society has implanted a microchip in every pet adopted from our shelter.”

In the days that followed the 2011 Joplin tornado, the ASPCA established an emergency shelter for 1,300 animals, and in the month that followed, reunited 500 pets with their families. The ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society found new homes for the 800 remaining cats and dogs during a two-day adoption event hosted in late June. Additionally, the ASPCA also granted $100,000 to the Joplin Humane Society to support disaster relief and recovery efforts.

As a result of disasters such as the Joplin tornado, the ASPCA has created a mobile app that allows users to store critical pet records required to board pets at evacuation shelters, provides customized steps to search for lost pets, and includes a check-list of actions to take before, during and after a disaster. Additional disaster preparedness tips for pet owners can be found at