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Local shelter near capacity due to recent storms

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ROANOKE, Va. – The trio of tornadoes that tore through our area not only forced families from their homes, but many of their four-legged friends as well.

The Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection in Roanoke has been taking in animals affected by the storms.The center said it cannot turn animals away, no matter what.

“When you have so many animals coming in at one time, it really strains the building and the staff and it really strains the animals that are already here,” said Melinda Rector, the acting director of operations at the center.

Between Sunday and Wednesday, the center took in 65 animals.
Now, its greatest challenge is reuniting pets with owners.

“A lot of large stray dogs are coming in and we are kind of slow getting their owners to come and get them. It's one of these situations where dogs get scared during storms and may run further than you think they can,” Rector said.

Rector said some of the few empty cages have been made possible thanks to neighboring adopting services, such as the Franklin County Humane Society.

“We are hoping to take about 10 dogs and maybe three cats and maybe a few more. People need to remember, just because of inclement weather isn't the only time where pets are in need but also homelessness is 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Anita Scott, the director of the Franklin County Humane Society, .

Scott said deciding which animals to take is the most difficult part of her day.
To make the decision easier, she and the center rely on help from the community.

The center is asking all pet owners to microchip their animals or lend a helping hand by adopting a new friend.