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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Few pets need help after storms

By Beccy Tanner
The Wichita Eagle

Since Saturday night’s storm, less than 20 pets have needed emergency shelter or been picked up as strays.

Nadine Conner, owner of Sit Stay Dog Training Center and a member of the Sedgwick County Animal Response Team, said her group took in nine pets on Saturday night as people suddenly left homeless sought shelter with the American Red Cross.

The Sedgwick County Animal Response Team, also known as SCART, responds to and aids in the survival and welfare of animals during natural and manmade disasters.

“SCART has nothing to do with helping find lost pets,” she said. “Owners hand them over to us as they go into the Red Cross Shelter.”

The group provides emergency shelter for up to three days. It will end Tuesday night.

In the meantime, other groups and agencies are stepping forward to help animals.

Wichita Animal Services has captured eight stray animals within the area affected by the storm, said Dennis Graves, animal control supervisor with the Wichita Police Department. The animals included a stray dog with no owner information; two stray cats, one cat that was micro chipped; and, a ferret — all from the Oaklawn neighborhood.

He said he was surprised more animals haven’t been brought in.

“You never know, a lot of times you get more as time goes on,” Graves said. “As people are doing their cleanup, Fido might show up and they take him with them. I think the reason more animals haven’t shown up is that a lot of the damage was limited to areas that are not as densely populated, with the exception of Oaklawn. It was mostly aircraft field areas and manufacturing plants. If it had been in a more densely populated area, there may have been more animals.”

The Kansas Humane Society has not had to provide any emergency boarding services since the storm, said Jennifer Campbell, director of communications with the society.

“We believe people are safe and have found alternative housing and taken their pets with them,” Campbell said. “What we saw after Hurricane Katrina and Greensburg was that the animals started showing up a day or two after the storm. The animals will hide and stay hidden and then will start coming out looking for food. And that’s when we help. We are trying to make sure we have space available for any of the surrounding communities that say they need help.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com

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