Dogs and cats survive severe weather at Mt. Pleasant shelter

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Call it the dog days of late May. Two lucky pooches are still wagging their tails after severe weather stranded them at the Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter, 1225 West Washington Street, on Thursday.

They say every dog has his day.

"My first concern was for the animals that were in here," said Gary Ruth, director of operations for the Henry County Animal Rescue Organization.

For those challenged canines, that day was Thursday.

"This is the back wall laying here," gestured Ruth.

Severe winds ripped the roof off Henry County's animal shelter and veterinary hospital on Thursday afternoon.

"It was just like a big kite caught it and tore it off," said Dr. Richard Howie, who was away from the office when the storm hit about 3:30 Thursday afternoon.

Strong winds topping 80 mph lifted layers and moved metal while two dogs cowered for protection in the kennel.

"It just took the roof off sideways," Ruth continued. "And the back wall just all the way. Nothing came down on the animals."

Remarkably, no animals were hurt during the storm or darkness from a power outage that continued Friday. Even a mother kitty and her kittens were safe and secure.

"She'll have something to tell the kids," Dr. Howie said.

"They were just scared to death," added Ruth.

Heavy equipment moved in on Friday morning. It was tearing at roof remnants tossed aside by the storm. There's lots of twisted debris piled high. It leaves behind a big mess.

"The whole building is on a pile on the side," Dr. Howie said.

Those lucky dogs are now in a predicament. With the animal shelter closed indefinitely, they'll need new homes quickly.

While work resumes on repairs, there's hope volunteers can offer foster care or make donations to help local animal rescuers.

To assist, call the Henry County Animal Rescue Organization at (319) 537-0200.

"It was pretty bad for the couple minutes that it happened," Ruth concluded.

Iowa's dog days in May, where the bite is worse than the bark -- at least for this building.