Families and their pets comfort each other after flooding in Manhattan

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) --- The American Red Cross helped families and pets, recently displaced by flooding in Manhattan, stay together.

"We have wonderful help here in setting up the kennels and the beds right next to the kennels so that momma can sleep next to baby" Red Cross volunteer Ned Webb said.

Pet owners were allowed to stay with their pets in a shelter located at Porttoff Hall when flash floods forced them from their homes.

In the past, pets were sent to separate shelters until owners could retrieve them.

"It's a pleasure to be able to provide this service to pet owners because we've learned over the years...and we've all observed...how attached they are to the pets...we have some pet owners who would sleep on a curb rather than come into the shelter if they couldn't bring their pet. So, this is just an opportunity.” Webb said.

People in the shelter were grateful for the opportunity.

"They are in just as much shock as we are. They have feelings and they are scared. You can tell they're scared, and they have to have us for comfort and we have them for comfort." Pet owner Janet Moralez said.

Mary Prewitt with the Kansas State Animal Response team said this decision was long overdue.

"People will cross police lines. They will put themselves at risk and go back to rescue their pets if you don't provide for pets at the same time you evacuate the people,” she explained.

Many in the Little Apple face a grim task ahead, but said having their furry companions at their side made it a little brighter.

"I won't leave without him, and I won't leave no matter what,” another pet owner, Jessica Padgett added.

Red Cross officials said the number of pets and owners at Porttoff Hall steadily decreased as many returned to their homes.