Pets unclaimed after Joplin tornado offered for adoption

About 600 unclaimed dogs and cats rescued after the Joplin tornado will be available for adoption this weekend.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Joplin Humane Society are hosting the event from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Sunday at the Emergency Animal Shelter in Joplin. The shelter is next to the humane society, 140 E. Emperor Lane.

"We're really counting on regional support," said Tim Rickey, ASPCA's senior director of field investigations and response. "Joplin will not be able to take this many animals back into the community."

Most of the animals are between 1 and 3 years old. They have been spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, so they will be ready to go on the day of adoption. Those wanting to adopt need to bring government-issued photo identification and proof of address.

The groups are waiving all fees and providing some free pet supplies. There is an application form, which will be available at the event and is also posted online at /adoptathon.html.

After the May 22 tornado, the ASPCA and the humane society tried to match unclaimed pets with their owners using community outreach, fliers and ads.

"It gets to a point that we can no longer keep them in an emergency shelter environment," Rickey said. "It's very clear they were beloved family pets and really need to get back into that home environment."

The groups have reunited about 500 pets with families and are boarding 100 claimed animals for people still unable to care for a pet.

Animals not adopted will be sent to partner agencies next week.