Volunteers help care for animals during Louisville flood

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By Josh Moore

Employees and volunteers at the Shelby County Humane Society are always helping out animals in need in the county. But when flood waters filled the Metro Animal Services shelter in Louisville last Tuesday, they went out of their way to lend a helping hand. 

Several people took supplies to Louisville and helped care for the animals, which had been relocated to the fairgrounds, said Nancy Guilliom, volunteer coordinator for the Shelby County Humane Society. 

"We're all in this together," she said. "We certainly wanted to lend a hand." 

The flood waters from Tuesday's storm filled the Louisville shelter on Manslick Road within 30 minutes and employees and volunteers worked to move the 250 dogs and 300 cats to the fairgrounds, said Jackie Gulbe, assistant director for community relations for Metro Animal Services.

Only 10 cats and 1 dog drowned, she said.

Guilliom said she was sad about those deaths but knew there could have been more.

“Had they waited 15 more minutes, it could have been a lot worse,” she said.

Once they had all the pets to dry ground, Gulbe said they needed help to take care of the animals.

“It took a lot of people and a lot effort to do what we did,” she said.

Guilliom said she and the other volunteers walked around to make sure the pets had food, water and clean cages.

"The animals were really very stressed, especially the cats," she said. 

Volunteers took care of the cats and walked some of the dogs to help calm them down, said Jennifer Gerber, manager of adoptions and foster care coordinator for the humane society. 

"It was crazy, and everybody was trying to do everything they could," she said. 

They also helped identify animals that needed to be treated by a veterinarian, Gerber said. 

The humane society took several items including food and bedding when they went to help, she said. 

"We just loaded down the truck," Gerber said. 

Gulbe said the shelter has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from nearby communities.

She said she's been directing people interested in helping to their Web site, louisvilleky.gov/animalservices, which has an updated list of items the shelter might need.

Gerber said she brought home two dogs from the shelter to care for herself. 

"Any time animals are in need, we try to help," she said.