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National and local donations help meet Mayfield animal shelter needs

Courtesy of the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter

The Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter is helping pets who were impacted by the Quad State Tornado get their needs taken care of at a time when some pet owners are struggling. With help from other agencies and contributors, the shelter is providing food and other supplies for pets while also offering a home for displaced animals.

Heather Harrington is the supervisor of the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter. Harrington said she was out of town the weekend of the tornado, but she came back Monday to prepare the shelter, which sustained minimal damage, for the busy days ahead.

“We had some animals that we had already had here for a while that were up for adoption go to rescues, so we could have room here for all the strays that were going to come in,” Harrington told WKMS in an interview.

The Louisville Humane Society and the Greater Good Charities organization helped to transfer almost all the animals previously housed in the shelter. Harrington said this made the space needed to receive the close to 100 new animals that have checked in since the tornado.

The Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter has an ongoing thread on their Facebook page dedicated to reporting lost and found pets. This is a public post and viewers are encouraged to share it and comment if they recognize the pets.

Harrington said the majority of the pets admitted to the shelter come from people bringing in the strays they find while others are picked up through individuals calling to report stray dogs. She also said they offer the shelter as a boarding facility for displaced pet owners who need a place to keep their dog or cat until they can get back on their feet.

Harrington said that most of the animals that come into the shelter aren’t as badly hurt as one might think.

“We’ve had a few handfuls (of pets) come in that were actually injured,” Harrington said “But not a lot of them have been. Most of them come in shook up, but we haven’t had a whole lot come in injured.”

Harrington said that so far around 15 to 20 pets have been reclaimed by their owners, but they are still receiving new pets every day. The shelter has waived the normal reclamation fee at this time for pets lost due to the tornado.

Lauren Bailey works for the Kentucky Humane Society but lives locally in Graves County. She said she’s been working with the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter in community efforts for the last three years.

Bailey said there’s been an outpouring of support on the national level the past few days from groups like the Humane Society of the United States and Animal Rescue Corps. These groups aided tremendously with rescue efforts.

Supplies have been coming from out-of-state donations, but Bailey said the biggest contributor of supplies on day one was the community.

“That first day, I guess Saturday, we went out in the van and we had loaded up some supplies and just driving around the neighborhood and we had people stopping in front of us to hand us bags of dog food while we were delivering,” she said.

Bailey said the shelter isn’t big enough to house all of the supplies donated and has already met most of their needs with the donations so far. The excess supplies are now being sent to surrounding counties and other impacted areas where they are in higher demand.

“We’re trying to get a lot of that large animal stuff to other areas that are serving more of the large animal needs and focus on the small animal [needs] here,” Bailey told WKMS.

The Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter is using an old elementary school on West Broadway in Mayfield as a drive-up pet supply depot. Anyone can pull up and have their car filled with any supplies one might need for their pets.

Bailey said she hopes to have more drive-up pet supply locations open in other counties. She said there’s been so much support given to Mayfield and Graves County that she’s trying to include other local shelters, even starting a Facebook group to organize supplies and volunteers.

Bailey said the local Mayfield Graves County Animal Shelter will be a resource for pets owners even after other aid has left the area, and that they will continue to find ways to make the lives of both pets and pet owners easier in the coming months.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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