Animal rescues

Iowa ARL says ‘historic’ August broke records for animal rescues and adoptions


For the first time in the Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s 93-year history, the organization said it rescued more than 1,000 animals in one month.

The historic number of rescues in August follows several serious cases of hoarding across the state. The ARL said it has released nearly 7,000 animals from unsafe conditions this year.

August marks another historic achievement for the ARL: Nearly 1,100 animals were adopted, reunited with owners or placed in homes last month, the nonprofit shelter said in a statement Wednesday.

ARL CEO Tom Colvin applauded his entire staff for this historic month. But, he noted, this could not have happened without the support of the community.

“Every pet adopted, every hour volunteered, and every dollar donated helped us reach this vital record of over 1,000 pets rescued in a single month,” Colvin said.

A rise in cases of animal stockpiling has put a strain on local shelters in recent months. The ARL was already over capacity when, in early June, it took nearly 300 cats, most of them dead, from a Madrid home.

The ARL took more than 40 dogs from two Iowa homes in Exira and Lime Springs weeks later, then picked up about 50 cats from properties in Des Moines soon after. At least two other hoarding cases weighed on the ARL in the first half of 2019; the shelter is the primary provider of animal control services in Des Moines.

“We’re never insensitive,” Colvin told the Register in June. “I see tears in these situations time and time again. Compassion fatigue is a reality among animal shelter rescuers – and when you add that extra dose to the mix, it’s a real challenge.” Smaller shelters with less funding face even more intense pressures after such cases, he added.

About a quarter of all animals rescued this year are still in ARL care, the organization said, adding that adoptions – especially of cats – are still needed.

The shelter will be hosting a “name your price” adoption event this weekend, Friday through Saturday, at each of its locations.

Shelby Fleig covers registry news and features. She can be reached at [email protected] and 515-214-8933.