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Family and 29 pets stranded after Parkway wreck

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Donations sought to help get them to Arizona

By Ben Carlson

They are stranded and need your help.

“They” are a family of four along with their total of 29 cats and dogs that had their mini-van destroyed early Friday morning when it was rear-ended on the Bluegrass Parkway.

Nearly penniless and living at the Best Western since last night courtesy of the Methodist Church, the family was heading to Arizona to stay with a relative in their mini-van, which had a cracked head and allowed them to travel only a few miles before pulling over to let it cool down. They were apparently pulled over when another vehicle struck them from behind.

The family, which includes a dad, a mom who is blind and two teenagers, were not injured in the accident, nor were their collection of dogs and cats, which includes 12 cats, 12 dogs and five kittens.

The animals were transported to the county’s animal shelter and are in good condition, according to Donna Callahan, director of the Anderson County Humane Society.

The family’s father does not have a valid driver’s license. Coupled with no longer having a vehicle, the family is stuck here.

Callahan said she is collecting donations, preferably cash, to help figure out a way to get the family and its pets to Arizona. To donate, call her home at 839-4623.

Anderson County Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway said he is also working to find a way to help the family, and is accepting donations by calling him at 680-1059.

Conway said Saturday morning that former state Rep. Kent Stevens, who owns are used-car dealership in Alton, has already donated the use of a U-Haul, if someone is willing to drive the family to Tuscon.

That will take a considerable amount of fuel, and likely at least a couple night’s lodging, so getting cash donations is key.

A Humane Society volunteer has already said she will drive the truck, Callahan said.

Conway said he has already made arrangements to ensure the family can stay at the Best Western through Monday, and longer if needed.