NORTHERN KENTUCKY — The devastation from the tornadoes last weekend separated people from their family members, and took away loved ones.

It was a tragic loss not only of human life, but of pets as well, whom many consider members of their family.

In Western Kentucky, stories of the inspiring efforts by Kentuckians helping their neighbors clear debris and bring them the supplies they need have been prevalent, but one possibly overlooked area of need is helping the dogs, cats and other animals that also suffered from the destruction.

What You Need To Know

  • A volunteer team is gathering supplies for the pets affected by the tornadoes in western Kentucky

  • The team will also be bringing about 20 dogs back to the Cincinnati area

  • The dogs will need foster homes, and eventually, to be adopted

  • To learn more, visit the team’s website

The Homeless Animal Rescue Team, or HART of Cincinnati, is trying to address that need. HART is a 501-c3 non-profit charity. It’s 100% volunteer-based. 

“These people have lost everything. Do anything that we can do to  help sustain them, to help them keep their animals, and to live comfortably, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said volunteer Shari Wyenandt. “These people have already lost their homes. They shouldn’t lose their pets. If they want to keep their pets, we’re going to help them keep their pets.”

Wyenandt and other volunteers have been going store to store to gather mostly pet supplies to bring to Western Kentucky. They’ll also be bringing home about 20 dogs that people have had to voluntarily surrender due to the storms.

Some of the dogs were injured, including broken limbs, and at least one was pregnant.

“Doing this will allow us to open up the shelter that is now housing them, so that they can pull in the other animals that are actually looking for their owners, or their owners that are looking for the animals. It gives them some place to go,” Wyenandt said.

HART is a dedicated team, but it doesn’t have a dedicated shelter. So the dogs will need homes. That means foster homes at first, before they’re ready to be adopted.

Wyendant said they need people willing to give the pets a place to decompress, and drive them to veterinarian appointments, which HART will cover.

“They've just lost their family, their home, some of them again are injured,” Wyendant said. “What can we do? We just want to help. We want to help the animals, and we want to help the people.”

Wyenandt said once people caught wind of what she and her team were doing, the donations have been pouring in. It’s just the latest example of Kentuckians helping Kentuckians, even the four-legged ones.

Hart will be heading to Taylor County Friday to drop off supplies and recover the dogs.

To find out how to foster, or eventually adopt, visit HART’s website.