By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahomans banded together once again for a rescue of a different sort on Sunday afternoon; one that involved wagging tails and the occasional “meow.”
Hundreds of people lined up at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds for a pet adopt-a-thon to help the animals who were displaced by the Moore tornado on May 20.
City of Moore spokesperson Jayme Shelton said he believed there were between 125 to 140 pets up for adoption on Sunday and nearly all of them got adopted.
There were nine cats left at the end of the day on Sunday but Second Chance Animal Shelter came and got them, Shelton said. There were also two dogs that went unadopted.
“There will be no euthanasias. All animals will be found a loving home,” Shelton said. “Everything was either adopted, went to rescue or went to (a foster home).”
Some of those that went to a foster home were pets who had been claimed by their owners but couldn’t be picked up because they were staying in a hotel, he said.
The event was set for 1 to 6 p.m. However, by the time 3 p.m. rolled around it seemed that many of the pets were well on their way to having a new family and a new home.
As barks of about every dog breed you could imagine echoed through the barn on that afternoon, many of their cages displayed signs reading “adopted” or “this pet is unavailable.”
One Moore resident said she and her husband came out to adopt a pet because they figured there would be so many of them, but by the time they got there most of the pets were already adopted.
Justin Scally, national director of emergency services for the American Humane Association said the adoption process included filling out an application, having time to interact with the pet and then starting the actual adoption process.
That explains why signs were hanging on many of the cages; the pets were waiting for their new family to complete the adoption process.
After the adoption process was complete the new owners were able to pick out a few “goodies” from the supply table and take their new furry friend home.
The supply tables were full of everything from treats to food and water bowls for the animals.
As one of the new pet owners played around with the newest addition to their family, his wife April Smith said they wanted to adopt a pet because they wanted to make sure they went to a good home after all the animal had been through with the tornado.
“They’ve been through a lot and we just wanted to make them feel safe,” Smith said. “At least we know they will have a good home.”
Smith and her family, residents of Mustang, got in line around 12:30 p.m. and by 3 p.m. they were ready to take their new dog home.
Tuttle resident Kayla Waite and her family were also able to adopt a dog who was a little over a year old. She said they already had two dogs, but they have a huge yard and they wanted to help with the cause.
Moore resident Kathren Stehno said she hadn’t had a pet in a long time, five years in fact since her last pet died. But, she thought the adopt-a-thon would be a great opportunity to change that.
“My heart goes out to all of the animals that have been misplaced due to the tornado, so we thought maybe we could offer our home up to one of these precious babies,” Stehno said.
Her grandchildren also thought it was about time for her to get a dog or a cat, she said with a laugh.
All of the pets in the adopt-a-thon were microchipped, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Pet adoption fees on Sunday were $70 per pet. All of the proceeds will go toward a spay and neuter fund set up by the City of Moore, which is a great cause, Scally with the humane association said.
Scally said the fact that the city is being proactive about such a big day to day issue was wonderful.
“Thanks for helping the city of Moore,” he said.