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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shelter for displaced animals set up at Lyon County fairgrounds

By DEB GRUVER
The Wichita Eagle

EMPORIA — Peggy Derrick, the manager of the animal shelter in Emporia, said animal control brought in five dogs and two cats Saturday night affected by the tornado that struck Reading.

The ones rescuers were able to corral "were friendly enough that they were looking for people," she said. "We did have to leave some behind that were too spooked."

Some animals were limping around, she said.

Derrick loaded up her own four cats and took them to crates she has in the basement for emergencies.

"Oh, they were mad. They were mad at me," she said.

The Emporia Wal-Mart has donated dog and cat food and cat litter.

Lt. Jim Tilton of the Emporia Police Department helped unload bags of dog food today at the Lyon County fairgrounds, which will serve as a makeshift shelter for animals if needed.

Derrick expects that animal control and Sedgwick County Animal Control Response Team rescuers will have to trap some loose animals.

"This first few days is going to be the tip of the iceberg," she said.

She returned one dog to its family this morning, she said. They had lost their home but had family nearby to help, she said.

Officials from the Kansas State Animal Response Team and Sedgwick County Animal Response Team have arrived to set up a temporary shelter at the county fairgrounds.

State board member Midge Grinstead of Lawrence said the most important thing at this point for displaced animals is "just getting them."

Workers will separate known pets from those whose owners haven't been identified.

Volunteers had already rescued nine dogs from one home.

Each county or region has an animal response team for emergencies such as tornadoes, Grinstead said.

Such a system wasn't in place before the Greensburg tornado.

"Greensburg was a real eye opener," she said.

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