Animal Rescue League Over Capacity, Asks for Community’s Help

Cats in the lobby, cats in the offices, over 20 cats being housed in a room meant for introducing dogs, and more coming in every day.

“They’re too many pets coming in and not enough pets going out,” said ARL Executive Director Tom Colvin.

Colvin says the Animal Rescue League of Iowa is caring for upwards of 1,400 animals across several locations and their foster network; far exceeding the 800 Colvin says he would like the organization to care for.

“The Animal Rescue League made the decision several years ago that we are not going to euthanize for space and we’re sticking with that. What that ends up meaning is: more pressure on the organization and more pressure on the community to help us,” said Colvin.

One of the ways Colvin says the community can help is to become a foster care provider.

“It’s 100% important not only to get these kids out of the shelter to make space for other kids coming in but just in general just to get them out of a cage for a little while,” said foster care provider Betsy Salmon.

Foster families help care for the animals until they find a permanent home, and Salmon says they can help families who already have pets.

“Bringing in different types of personalities of foster cats really helps bring out the personality in my own cats but it taught me new skills too. Before I received this position I didn’t know how to bottle feed, so I do bottle feeding kittens now,” said Salmon.

Colvin is asking people considering adopting to make their adoption now, and those considering giving up their pet to only do so as a last resort.

Colvin says one of the biggest ways to help would be for more apartments to allow pets, but says it's a two-way street.

“We’ve got to have landowners that are willing to allow pets into their places, and we have to reach out to the public to actually make sure they are good stewards of pets so that land owners will be willing to open their doors,” said Colvin.

Colvin also stressed the importance of spaying or neutering pets.

If you would like to help the ARL but can’t adopt or foster, click here for the list of items the ARL needs.