Family drove for 3 days from Tampa area to Kansas City, escaping Irma with 30 dogs

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City Animal Control spent much of Saturday afternoon, September 9th working to find shelter for 30 dogs who are in Kansas City until their owners can return home to Florida.

The Lavara family made the trip in three days, taking just the essentials.

“They actually were driving 1,000 miles over from this small town near Tampa to be here,” said Maria Lavrava, through translator and family friend Marcelo Mata. “Not even luggage. Just the families and the dogs. That’s all they grabbed”.

Because there were 30 dogs at one address, Kansas City Animal Control was quickly alerted. City ordinance allows for only four dogs at one address.

“When we first arrived here, we thought we had an animal cruelty type situation at this address. We learned through our investigation that was not the case. It was evacuees from the hurricane,” explained James Donovan, special investigator for the City of Kansas City Department of Animal Health and Public Safety.

Following that discovery, Animal Control officers quickly developed a plan to get the animals to safety. They worked with partner agency KC Pet Project, which quickly agreed to provide shelter, medical care, food and water for the animals until their owners can return to Florida.

“She’s just glad to be here with the animals in a safe condition, and she’s just thanking everybody and Missouri just because of the help they’re providing,” said Mata.

“They’re part of the family, and they go wherever I go. They go wherever I go all the time. They don’t stay behind. They’re part of the family,” Lavrava explained.

KC Pet project will receive 12 of the animals from this family. They will care for the animals for the time being, and then return them to the family.

On Saturday alone, the KC Pet Project took in 46 animals, including the ones from Tampa.

The costs of caring for this large number of pets will be extremely high and the organization is asking the public for their help. Donations will go toward the animals care and will be doubled thanks to a matching gift by a local donor family. CLICK HERE to learn more, or to make a donation.