LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Across the state, animal shelters and organizations have come together to help the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter with their animal rescue efforts, from the Friday evening through early Saturday morning’s tornadoes.

The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado.

One more team to join them is coming from the Lexington Humane Society.

They are leaving Thursday, Dec. 16, by bus to Bowling Green, Ky., and their purpose is to relocate eight pre-storm dogs, who are not on a stray-hold, outside of the impacted areas for incoming rescues.

“That will make room for the dogs and cats that will inevitably show up over the next few days because that was their natural response to hide,” Meghan Hawkins, Lexington Humane Society’s Director of Community Engagement said.

  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)
  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)
  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)
  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)
  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)
  • The Kentucky Humane Society, in partnership with ASPCA, deployed teams over the weekend to all of the Kentucky counties impacted by the tornado. (Kentucky Humane Society)

“What they need is space,” Hawkins said. “So we’re creating lots of space, making rooms so we can bring in dogs and cats if necessary to have them up for adoption here. They should be ready to adopt in 1-2 days after arrival.”

With more space, Western Kentucky animal shelters can receive animals who are injured, displaced, and need to be reunited with their owners.

In Mayfield, Todd Blevins, with the Humane Society of the United States, has been on the grounds helping with the animal rescue efforts.

“It’s really hard to put into words what the scene is like both for the people and the animals,” Blevins said. “I’m glad we’re able to be here with the Mayfield Animal Shelter rescuing animals from distress, reuniting them with their owners, and providing pet owners with the resources they need.”

Blevins said in Mayfield alone, somewhere around 50 animals have been rescued and reunited with their pet owners.

The rescue teams have also spent a majority of their days knocking on doors asking how they can provide supplies to each home with pets. Supplies include litter and food.

“Pets give all of us, especially in times of crisis like this, emotional support and a sense of well-being. And we’ve talked to folks who have lost everything, except for their animal,” Kentucky Humane Society Spokesperson Andrea Blair said.

The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) has been at the hub for organizing teams to provide critical animal relief in Western Kentucky. KHS has had a very close partnership with the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter since 2019.

“This is a community we know and love very well,” Blair said. “We’ve helped in providing almost 1,000 low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to Mayfield’s local pets, and we’ve transported more than 1,600 shelter animals to other counties for adoption.”

KHS requested reinforcements from the ASPCA to help galvanize their efforts, so ASPCA’s Director of Disaster Relief, Tim Perciful, bought a one-way ticket to Louisville.

Perciful is now indefinitely in Kentucky to help with the relocation of animals and other tasks.

“Helping cleaning kennels and walking dogs, and just taking care of animals. That way their staff can get a break because they’re overwhelmed with everything going on. So we’re helping them, so they can have some relief also,” Perciful said.

Perciful says in the past five days, workers of the Western Kentucky animal shelters have gone days on minimal hours of sleep, so their focus is to first-and-foremost give the workers the relief they need to perform optimally at their jobs.

Having helped in every disaster, ASPCA is also lending their knowledge and experience to Western Kentucky on how to anticipate rising needs over the coming days.

“Holding time is the main thing,” Perciful said. “We deploy across the nation for disaster. Based on what we’ve seen in the past, we’re trying to help them prepare for tomorrow as well.”

As the animal community is closely tight-knit, all organizations have said they are committed to helping the Western Kentucky animal shelters provide relief for the long-haul.

“If they call us and ask can you pick up more, we’ll make it happen,” Hawkins said.

For those who are wanting to donate to their cause, the local animal shelters, along with KHS and ASCPA, have asked for monetary donations as opposed to supplies. The monetary donation is better suited for the shelters to spend accordingly to the needs of the disaster, whereas an overflow of supply donations becomes time-consuming to manage and takes away time better spent with the animals.

To donate to the animal relief fund, click the following link:

https://secured.humanesociety.org/page/82188/donate/1?locale=en-US