Tornado damages Mississippi animal sanctuary


Tylertown twister results in one dog death at site known for Katrina work.

A tornado in Tylertown, Miss., last week damaged property at St. Francis Animal Sanctuary (SFAS), widely known for its work with animals during Hurricane Katrina.

Two buildings near the front of the sanctuary’s 24-acre property were extensively greatly damaged by the tornado, leaving 70 to 80 animals loose on the property and one dead, officials say.

“It touched down and we didn’t know if the pressure went inside the building and blew the roof off or if it picked up the roof,” SFAS president Pam Perez says. “We found pieces of the roof all around the property.”

Perez says a local veterinarian was called and on the scene soon after the event and all the caregivers returned to the site as well. Most dogs walked away with just scrapes, but one dog had to have surgery and is doing well.

Perez says the organization is hoping to repair the buildings and that staff and volunteers have received an outpouring of support from the community—and from across the country. “A lot of people know St. Francis because of Katrina,” Perez says. “We were instrumental in housing over 4,000 Katrina animals here for nine months.”

St. Francis’s Facebook page is loaded with offers of donations, physical labor and moral support for the loss.“It was quite a distaster,” Perez says. “I’m lucky that I only lost one animal. I also lost one kitty but that was due to a dog that got loose. I’m just thankful that St. Francis and God are out there looking out for us. And thank you to all the people who have offered to help.”

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