One of the toughest years in the history of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa just won’t quit.
This week, 100 dogs were rescued from a hoarding situation in Carroll County. Small and medium-sized dogs were crammed into a filthy mobile home, living in their own waste — some in small cages and others on countertops.
The dogs were brought back to the shelter’s main facility in Des Moines, which was already over capacity.
This year, the ARL has rescued hundreds of dogs from puppy mills and hoarding situations. One hundred rescued from a puppy mill near Boone last month; 30 from another kennel in eastern Iowa in August; and 19 rescued from a hoarder in Council Bluffs in late July.
What’s more, 2023 has seen more dogs turned in by their owners than in typical years.
“It’s been unrelenting, quite frankly,” said ARL executive director, Tom Colvin. “Greater numbers are coming in, they’re coming in from farther away — and the dogs are coming in with a few more challenges.”
Colvin says dogs rescued from puppy mills and hoarding situations typically have medical and socialization issues that need to be attended to before they are made available for adoption. This takes much more time and money.
“In both situations, it can be a challenge in getting them to socialize with people,” Colvin says, “because there weren’t enough people to really care for their social needs when they came from either (type of) facility.”
ARL staff members like KC Routos have had to scramble to find extra space for the incoming dogs, and to find new spaces for the dogs already there.
“We’ve been able to set up temporary kennels on some of those larger intakes like in our training center,” Routos says. “And then in the meantime we’re working with rescues to transfer some of our dogs out. We are also leaning heavily on foster homes.”
Colvin says the ARL is in dire need of more foster homes for some of the dogs who’ve been with them a while. They also need blankets, towels, and — of course — cash donations to buy food and medicine.
They also welcome any and all volunteers. Children ages 10-15 can volunteer alongside their legal guardian. Those 16-17 can volunteer with a volunteer waiver. Anyone 18 and up can volunteer without a waiver.