When tornadoes as strong as those that struck Maumelle’s neighbors on April 27, the devastation is unbelievable as homes, buildings, vehicles, tractors, barns, 18-wheelers were wiped off the map with bits and pieces found miles away
And just as those events left humans with no shelter the problem was even worse for animals.
Many people left in such a hurry they didn’t have room, space or time to save their dogs and cats so many of them were left behind. Some of the animals survived the storm though.
Just as people flooded in to assist where needed so did those hoping to rescue injured animals or scared and lost pets.
Lisa Snow, Maumelle Friends of the Animals board member and chair of the efforts to rescue animals wanted to pause and than all those who came to the aid of the animals.
She said more than 30 volunteers as well as MFOA members and Maumelle Animal Shelter employees worked tirelessly every day since the tornado and the work they have done deserves the highest praise, she said.
The group rescued 49 animal tornado victims with three dead, 12 surrendered by their owners for adoption because they could no longer care for them for a multitude of reasons. Four are still up for adoption and Snow suggested visiting the group’s web site to find an animal of your own.
The group was able to reunite four animals with their owners while nine more are in foster care.
"We have had three animals with broken legs, a broken pelvis, a broken hip, that all required orthopedic surgery," Snow said. One also suffered a broken paw.
They also "currently are searching for three dogs in woods behind the riding stable, two dogs across from Lumber One, and one dog at the Exxon Station," she said.
"I got a call from April Thomas telling me that shelter employee Joangela Johnson’s home in Mayflower was destroyed in the tornado and that a chocolate lab [later found out to be Daisy] was found under a downed tree in the River Plantation subdivision with two broken legs," Snow said. "Daisy was taken to the ER for stabilization and then to Maumelle Animal Clinic the next day."
Daisy, the chocolate lab with the two broken legs had a happy ending as she was reunited with her owner, who also retrieved his cat, Sarah. Another beagle was reunited with his owner.
The next day, both organizations deployed a team of volunteers that delivered more than 1,500 lbs of pet’s food to Mayflower.
"We also searched for displaced or injured pets," She said. "We acquired six cats that were owner surrendered by a family affected by the tornado, another cat that had been taken to Mayflower’s makeshift vet office at City Hall, as the actual vet office was damaged by the tornado. In addition, four other dogs were transported to Maumelle Animal Clinic, one of which sustained a fractured pelvis."
Throughout the week, teams of volunteers went out daily and a total of 49 pets were found and four were reunited.
In the absence of any state law regarding animals found amidst disasters, we have elected to hold all unclaimed tornado victims for 30 days before releasing them for adoption, Snow said.
"The community response has been phenomenal," she added. "We received tons of donated pet food and pet supplies. We got calls from all over the country wanting to donate by credit card. There was an online crystal shop owner who advertised that he would donate two days proceeds to us and he got orders from five states and the United Kingdom."