California man using drones in tornado-hit areas to help Ky. families reunite with pets

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:13 PM EST
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DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WKYT) - Flying above what’s left of homes in Mayfield and Dawson Springs, you might see a drone looking for signs of life. Not of the people who lived in these neighborhoods, but their pets.

“I saw what was going on with the tornadoes here, I figured I could come out here and volunteer and help,” Douglas Thron said.

Thron has traveled the world to save animals from disasters. He’s been in western Kentucky for about a week using drones with infrared technology to find cats and dogs that are hidden or stuck in the rubble.

“Reuniting a pet with someone is an incredible feeling. It’s very heartwarming. These people have lost everything. That animal is a sign of hope that not all has been lost,” said Thron.

These pups and cats have been through a lot and are left shaken and scared after being rescued from the rubble.

“They’re definitely traumatized. They’re scared, shaking frequently but they warm up pretty quick. Once you get ahold of them, they get pretty comforted pretty quickly,” Thron said.

So far around 20 cats and dogs have been rescued from the rubble in the last week. While many have been reunited, others have been taken to area animal shelters while they wait for their families.

“Some of these animals may not have people available to give them homes. So, if people have the ability to give these animals homes down the line, there’s going to be a number of animals that are certainly going to be needing homes,” Thron said.

The animals that are found are being taken to shelters in Mayfield or Dawson Springs. Thron is also posting pictures of them on his Facebook page and community pages that were created for lost pets after the storms.

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