PERRY, Iowa -- Over a year and a half ago the Perry Humane Society shut down, leaving a major void in Northern Dallas County, but soon enough a new pet rescue will take its place. It’s one board members say is built to last decades down the road.
The Raccoon River Pet Rescue (RRPR) broke ground almost a year ago on the southwest edge of Perry, and now is just weeks away from opening their doors to our four legged friends that need a home and provide a service that's been sorely lacking in this part of Dallas County for quite some time.
“The whole idea is to relieve this feral cat and stray dog issues in the perry community. Police have had issues with that in the past and this certainly will diminish that,” RRPR board member Brent Halling said. “So to offer the low-cost spay and neuter [too] and cut down on the unwanted pet population is a big part of this too.”
On an almost six-acre lot, the $2.25 million dollar project is funded mainly by one perry woman, Joyce Conklin-Vankirk. Conklin-Vankirk and her late husband love animals, and she wanted to build a legacy project that she could see through.
“It's daunting because you hope you've crossed all the ‘Ts.’ You hope you have. It's exciting because I get to see this. I could have died and left money for this, but I don't get to see it. So this is really special,” Vankirk said. “I can't wait for a year ahead to be able to look back and say oh my gosh we're this far.”
The rescue has 40 cat condos, which Vankirk predicts will almost reach capacity the moment they open their doors. They also have 15 dog kennels with outside dog runs. Not to mention the spay and neuter services.
But while the construction portion of the project is almost done, ways the community can help out to make sure the rescue stays open is just getting started.
“We're going to be actively looking for a full-time manager of the facility. Then, as it is with a lot of pet rescue facilities, we are going to rely on a lot of volunteers,” Halling said. “We knew, at least our thinking was to begin with, if you build a warm, happy, pretty clean place to come and go to work, volunteers should not be a problem. And that's what we tried to develop here.”
The first big event at RRPR is this Sunday. The rescue is holding a “pet shower” from 1-4 p.m. at their new shelter site located at 14360 Ivy Place in Perry. They are asking for community members to stop by and donate items to help stock the shelter before any animals arrive. You can also get a sneak peak at the facility. Below is a list of items the shelter is asking for.
Vankirk said the grand opening is currently slated for sometime in mid-March.