Pets in East Cape surrounded by floodwaters in need of food, supplies

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, IL — The Petco in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is collecting donations to help the pets at East Cape Girardeau, Illinois, a village surrounded by floodwater as residents struggle to get the supplies they need.

The Petco at 266 Siemers Drive in Cape Girardeau set up a collection bin Thursday morning to collect dog and cat food, litter, beds, blankets, toys and treats.

Cindy Laymon, who works at the Petco, said the high waters surrounding the East Cape makes it difficult for residents to purchase supplies. In fact, the only ways to get in and out of the village are by boat, a high truck, or wading through the water.

Laymon, who has two dogs of her own, said: “They’re everything to me. They’re my life. I mean, when I walk through the door,  they greet me and that makes my day.”

In addition to her two dogs, Laymon is caring for the dog of her pregnant daughter, who is staying out of town due to the floodwaters. Laymon is also caring for the two chihuahuas at her neighbor’s house, because they evacuated to a hotel that does not allow pets. Laymon goes to her neighbor’s home four times a day — twice to feed the two dogs and twice to let them out.

Betty Dunn is taking care of her own pets, her daughter’s pets, and a kitten that was recently rescued.

“This is totally about neighbors helping neighbors in any way. Every way we can, we try and help each other out.”

Laymon said she recently had to wade through the knee-deep floodwaters to backpack a bag of dog food for her neighbor’s dogs.

Others in East Cape are also taking care more than just their own pets. Betty Dunn originally had four small dogs and four cats, half of them being rescues. But in May, one of her cats had kittens, four of which survived.

Cindy Laymon and one of her dogs, Little Dude.

In addition to those animals, Dunn is caring for a kitten found in the floodwaters, as well as the four dogs and three cats belonging to her daughter, who had to evacuate the village for her job but does return to the village to bring back supplies.

In all, Dunn is caring for 20 animals. But, with no car and walking on crutches, Dunn cannot leave East Cape to get supplies for her pets and the other animals she’s caring for. She says she could run very low on food for them toward the end of the month.

“My pets are my livelihood. I need them as much as they need me. I would say out of all my pets and my daughter’s pets, all by five of them are rescued animals and they deserve a happy home like anybody else,” said Dunn. “They mean the world to me. And if we have to be evacuated, they have to go too or I’m not going.”

Laymon also cares for her neighbor’s dogs.

East Cape is currently under voluntary evacuation instead of a mandatory evacuation order. Still, many people have left.

“Except for the National Guard being here, it’s almost like a ghost town,” said Dunn. “It’s hard. You don’t see your neighbors. Almost everybody’s gone.”

With that, Dunn said she knows of several pets in the village that have been abandoned. But members of the Illinois National Guard have adopted them.

“There was one family that left their dog. They took their collar of of it and just let it out in the yard, and it started roaming,” said Dunn. “And the National Guard took care of the dog. From when they switched and people went home, they took the dog home with them.”

The Petco in Cape Girardeau that is collecting donations for the pets at East Cape is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The store’s number is 573-332-1580.

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