Monday, April 29, 2013

Tornado destroys Tennessee animal shelter; a dog and cat killed

Tornado destroys Tennessee animal shelter; a dog and cat killed, An animal shelter in western Tennessee was destroyed Saturday night by a tornado, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Sunday (April 28).

According to the NWS, the EF-1 tornado with winds of 105 mph touched down in the community of Belmont in the town of Mason in Fayette County at 9:13 p.m. Saturday.

Along the tornado's 250-yard-wide and one mile long damage path, a large barn was destroyed, which housed the K-9 Animal Savior Rescue, an animal shelter. Multiple trees were also snapped and Belmont Methodist church was moved 15 feet off its foundation and severely damaged.

One person suffered minor injuries and a dog and cat were killed as a result of the tornado. The pens for 127 other dogs at the animal shelter were ripped apart.

"I had people starting to call me asking if we were alright, and I was hollering at them, ‘I'm in the middle of it. I got dogs everywhere. I can't do this,'" recalls Bill Funk from K-9 Animal Savior Rescue.

Funk has operated the animal shelter on the nine-acre property for 10 years, which cares for all kinds of dogs including crippled and blind dogs.

Volunteers in Fayette County quickly established a Facebook group to recruit volunteers to help the shelter's clean up. Dozens of people immediately showed up and gathered the loose dogs, putting them in makeshift kennels.

Funk says they are asking people to donate stainless steel food and water bowls for the dogs; he's also in need of 10-by-10 modular pens so he can get the dogs out of the small kennels.

More than anything, the shelter is asking people to foster the dogs while they continue the cleanup; they add adoption would be even better than fostering.

This same storm system also produced a brief but stronger EF-2 tornado in northern Mississippi in Panola County Saturday night.

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