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August 14, 2012

The Humane Society of the United States Aids Mississippi Sanctuary After Tornado Hits

The Humane Society of the United States is providing a $4,000 grant to St. Francis Animal Sanctuary in Tylertown, Miss., after the shelter suffered major damage caused by a tornado last Friday. One dog was killed and several others injured in the storm, and the shelter’s medical facility was knocked from its foundation. Many dogs roamed free after the storm destroyed their kennels.

In additional to the financial assistance, The HSUS purchased and coordinated the construction of 12 new kennels to alleviate the shelter’s critical housing crisis. The kennels are being installed by Southern Fencing in Tylertown.

“The strong winds and heavy rain of this tornado took a devastating toll on St. Francis Animal Sanctuary,” said Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is pleased that we are able to help rebuild this shelter for the more than 300 dogs who are cared for there.”

When homes and businesses are impacted by tornadoes, animals can suffer greatly. The HSUS offers the following preparedness tips to people who live in parts of the country where tornadoes strike:

1. Bring your pets inside. If it's not safe for you outside, it's not safe for them.

2. Keep emergency pet supplies in a tornado-proof room or cellar. The supplies should be easy to find   and transport, in case you need to   evacuate. Include the basics:

  • Adequate supply of food, water and treats
  • Sanitation items such as a litter box and litter or puppy pads
  • A crate to provide a secure place in which to weather the storm

3. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. Increase your chances of being reunited with a lost pet by having him or her microchipped.

4. Practice getting your pets into the tornado-safe area.

  • Do your best to train your dog to go to the area on command or to come to you on command even when there are distractions.
  • Learn how to quickly and safely secure your pets.
  • Find your pets' favorite hiding places and learn how to safely remove your pets from them.

5. Make your tornado-safe area animal friendly.

  • Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
  • Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.

6. If you have to evacuate, to take your pets and their emergency supplies with you.

7. Take special care of your pets after the tornado has passed. Your home may be a very different place after a disaster, which can be very distressing for your pets.

  • Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and keep cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, they could escape and become lost.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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