LOST AND FOUND: Volunteers searching on-foot for animals affected by Mississippi tornadoes

Published 8:59 am Monday, March 27, 2023

Recovery and rescue missions are not just taking place for human residents in Rolling Fork. They are also underway for missing and displaced animals.

Many people have made their way to the tornado-ravaged city to volunteer to help find animals that have been lost and need to find their owners.

Gaila Oliver is one of them.

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And because of the severity of damage from the tornado, Oliver said, that means folks are setting out on foot to locate animals.

“We can’t drive; you have to walk the community,” she said, since many of the roads are impassable. “We found two dogs yesterday that had been injured,” Oliver said, and a horse that was loose. “It was near the armory, just running.”

Also found were three-month-old puppies that were behind a truck whose trailer had been turned over. Four-week-old kittens that had lost their mother were found in a tire, and a male cat that was roaming.

“They were taken to a no-kill shelter in Jackson,” Oliver said.

Oliver, who works with Precious Paws MS, a 501c3 designed for reporting and sharing Lost and Found pets as well as animals that are victims of abuse, said many other animals have been taken in by shelters in neighboring towns.

Many of the veterinarians in the area, Oliver said, have also stepped up to care for animals in need of medical care.

“Dr. Tom Watts, a veterinarian from Columbus, was on-site yesterday to help,” she said. The Greenville Clinic is offering free boarding, and the Allen and Griffin Animal Hospital is offering free veterinarian service for victims of the tornado.

In an effort to help reunite pets with their respective pet owners, Oliver said a Facebook Page was set up by MEMA: Animals Lost and Found Rolling Fork and Silver City Mississippi Tornado.

As of Sunday, displaced animals are being taken to Sharkey Issaquena Academy.

At this time, Oliver said donations of food are not needed, but for those who would still like to help, she suggested monetary donations could be made that could go toward rebuilding the animal shelter in Rolling Fork, which was destroyed.