Evansville volunteers, animal groups help lost Kentucky tornado pets

Table of Contents Area animal welfare groups scrambling to organize rescue effortsMuch work is yet to…

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — For an hour or so in the awful aftermath of last weekend’s tornadoes in Kentucky, the clouds parted long enough to let in a tiny ray of sunshine in a darkened parking lot in Evansville.

As volunteers and newly enlisted foster home owners anxiously watched, a minivan rolled up at It Takes a Village No-Kill Rescue on Tuesday night. It was filled to the brim with crates bearing precious cargo — nine dogs, large and small, plus three kittens and their mother — direct from tornado-torn Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

The dogs were long-timers from the Muhlenberg County Humane Society, taken to clear space for animals recovered in tornado-affected areas whose owners might still be searching for them. The cats — a docile gray and black-striped female and three pocket-sized black kittens — were found hiding in rubble from the two tornadoes that touched down in Muhlenberg.

Tangila Smith, executive director of It Takes a Village, helps Tabatha Helmick of Evansville with Buddy, a dog she was going to foster Tuesday night, Dec. 14, 2021. Buddy – as well as eight more dogs, a cat and her three kittens – were transferred from the Muhlenberg County Humane Society to make room for animals displaced by Friday night's tornado.

For all her seriousness of purpose in being there, Tabatha Helmick hovered around the minivan beaming in anticipation and joy at the site of the bedraggled animals as they were taken out. Helmick had somehow gotten a line on a shepherd mix named Buddy, and she couldn’t wait to meet him.

“When we heard about the tornado, we just decided to reach out and see if we could help out somehow,” she said.