No-kill shelter PAWS Chicago brought about 75 pets who were already in a shelter and at risk of being euthanized to Chicago in order to help free up space for storm-victimized pets at the Oklahoma City Animal Care and Control.
"They're all just wonderful animals and just very lucky," volunteer Michele McAntire said.
As a result of the tornado, the facility has been reportedly over capacity since an influx of about 150 displaced, injured and homeless pets.
"We wanted to make sure we were able to open up space there so the animals that were displaced from the tornado were able to be brought to the animal care and control so that their owners could come and find them," PAWS Chicago's Laura Silvka said.
Oklahoman owners of animals displaced by the storms will have 30 days to visit area shelters in Oklahoma to reclaim their animals. The actions of Chicago's shelter are intended to help free up space in Oklahoma's shelters so that pet owners in that storm-ravaged state may more easily be reunited with their animals. PAWS Chicago says on its website that it plans to return to Oklahoma after 30 days to help transport additional animals.
The caravan of volunteers arrived home around 2:30 a.m. Sunday after setting out for the 14-hour drive Friday.
They rescued 25 cats and 51 dogs. More than 350 people volunteered to take part in the pet rescue effort.
On Sunday afternoon, staffers were preparing the animals for adoption.
The homeless animals that have made their way to Chicago will all receive medical care first, but once they are cleared medically, the hope is to find these pets new homes.
PAWS Chicago plans to post photos and more information about the Oklahoma pets on their website http://www.pawschicago.org/.
The shelter says many of the cats and dogs will be available for adoption as early as Monday May 27 at their Lincoln Park adoption center.