Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
As animal shelters across the state have reported decreased adoptions and increased animal populations, facilities in Southeast Iowa say they’ve had a more or less normal year.
Amber Talbot, director of the PAWS & More in Washington, said the shelter was transferring animals in from more strained communities around the state.
“We work with a lot of other shelters, and I don’t know their demographics, but one of the things that makes PAWS so unique is that for the last 10 years we’ve worked so hard on community outreach,” she said. “We’ve got very humane and effective animal ordinances in our communities, in our county.”
That’s not to say local shelters aren’t dealing with a lot. Noah’s Arc Animal Foundation in Fairfield currently has over 100 cats on a waiting list, but Director Dawn Hauck said that wasn’t unusual for this time of year.
“We have never not had a waitlist for cats and kittens to come into the shelter,” she said. “I would say it’s about as expected. It seems like we always have a supply of cats and kittens that we can bring into the shelter … Kitten season usually starts in the spring and then it just goes.”
While the issue is under control for now, shelter managers couldn’t promise it would stay that way forever.
“There does seem to be a little more requests,” Fairfield Heavenly Pet Sanctuary Executive Director Laura Conti said. “Whether that’s because there are more, or if we’re just getting more calls, it’s hard to know that … I would say that the demand is higher, but our actual facility is not overflowing at this point.”
To keep things from getting out of hand, shelters have put resources into spay and neuter programs and community outreach.
Hauck said the Noah’s Arc Foundation’s spay and neuter program was funded with over $10,000 from a multitude of grants and donors.
Talbot said her shelter received around $2,000 annually from the city of Washington for its own trap, spay and release program, enough to fund the procedure for around 20 cats per year to keep populations under control.
Of course, the most direct way to free up shelter space is convincing people to adopt. Talbot said PAWS had a joint school supply collection and kitten adoption drive underway Aug. 7-16. to do just that.
“If you bring school supplies to donate for kids, then you get $50 off your cat adoption,” she said. “We have to get creative, that’s for sure.”