Pets displaced by Joplin tornado find new homes

By the Associated Press | June 27, 2011 | 6:44 PM EDT

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Thousands of animal lovers from Missouri and beyond flocked to Joplin over the weekend to adopt hundreds of pets displaced by the deadly late May tornado.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Joplin Humane Society found permanent homes for 745 pets during an "adopt-a-thon" event on Saturday and Sunday. The groups say they drew more than 5,700 people from 24 states.

Organizers waived adoption fees to encourage participation, and all cats and dogs were spayed or neutered and provided with microchips, vaccines and identification tags at no cost.

The national animal advocacy group provided emergency shelter for 1,300 pets since the May 22 tornado. Nearly 500 animals were reunited with their owners. Two hundred more animals await adoption.