Kentucky shelter working to locate pet owners post-tornado

Published 6:49 am Sunday, January 2, 2022

A Kentucky animal shelter has been doing its part to help with recovery from last month’s tornadoes by reuniting pets lost in the storm with their owners.

The Hopkins County Animal shelter has taken in about 90 dogs and about 120 cats from the hard-hit community of Dawson Springs since Dec. 11, The Messenger reported. Shelter Executive Director Dustin Potenzas told the paper on Tuesday there were about 36 dogs left to be claimed and about 50 cats left.

All of the pets found in Dawson Springs will be kept for 35 days before being put up for adoption. If an owner can’t house their pet because their home was damaged or lost, the shelter can sign a 15-day contract to board the pets there.

“As long as the owner stays in contact with us and renews that 15-day contract, then we will hold those animals as long as we need to,” Potenza said.

The shelter is still getting animals from Dawson Springs more than two weeks after the tornadoes. Most of those coming in are cats, and Potenza said it can be hard to know if they are strays or pets. Only two of the rescued pets had microchips, which allowed the shelter to reunite them with their owners immediately.

For the other pets rescued, shelter volunteers are showing photos and talking to neighbors in the areas the animals were found to try to locate their owners. To reclaim a pet, the owner must show proof of ownership through veterinary records or photos.

“At a time like this when some have lost all, we still need to make sure we have that proof to make sure we are getting the animals to their rightful owners,” Potenza said. “That is the only fair way for us to do that.”