Tuesday, February 5, 2013


It appears that another shelter is in the spotlight for their inhumane practices, but for some it isn't the shelter they are focusing on, it's the lack of integrity the reporter used in writing the report.

KWWL.com reporter Danielle Wagner wrote an article regarding the Cedar Bend Humane Society's 2012 annual Statistics. What's creating the buzz are the discrepancies with the numbers that were reported leaving the readers wondering what happened to over 6,000 animals that the shelter allegedly "handled" and more.

If you read the article you will notice that Ms. Wagner reports that Cedar Bend HS "handled" 12,000 animals annually. She then proceeds to report that 5,171 cats and dogs actually entered the shelter with no reference to what happened to the other 6,829 animals CBHS handled. She provides an intake breakdown for the 5,171 animals...twice leaving the reader to believe that over 10,000 animals were processed, when in reality she is reporting the same 5,171. Another discrepancy creating buzz is the disposition of the 5,171 cats and dogs which left 981 animals unaccounted for.

A final comment was a slap in the face to all those no kill shelters and rescues across the country with her statement implying they all turn animals away forcing places like Cedar Bend no choice but to take them all in. Many people felt her reporting was biased towards the shelter she volunteers for. And when they questioned her for clarification she came out swinging.

Unfortunately, her wayward reporting placed CBHS in the spotlight with the community questioning their practices and policies. A great blog that breaks down all the discrepancies of the article can be found here.

Many readers thinks she was biased and did not portray a balanced perspective But Ms. Wagner didn't play dead. She came out swinging and openly admits she's an avid volunteer for Cedar Bend in her own blog.

The tragedy of all of this, is that a reporter got the facts, didn't verify them or just reported them incorrectly and refuses to take any responsibility for the bad reporting and biased opinions she posted. That's an abuse of the pen and worse, lacks integrity.

Ms. Wagner claims that her writing isn't about anything but the animals, and yet they are the very thing not being talked about. Because if it was all about the animals, then she would be validating her resources and bring forth clarification to assure the public, that 6,000+ animals died....MORE than saved in Black Hawk County.

Until shelters like Cedar Bend Humane Society put programs in place that offer viable solutions other than killing to control the population inside their shelter, other animal advocates who are using these programs will continue to watch them, expose them, and fight back.

It's worth the read..and definitely worth your comments. If you don't comment, you may not make that one spark that would light the match that starts the fire of change. Think about it...one comment, one observation, could save millions of lives.

Do it! Only you can make a difference for those who can't speak.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary & Rescue
Click on the photo to read our year in review.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Poem on Rehoming....

This poem was written and submitted to RVAS by a person who rescues animals and became overwhelmed with the number of "get rid of's" listed on Craig's list. We thought we would share her thoughts with our readers.

I’d live in a tent, I’d live in a car
but never oh never would I go so far
as to leave my poor doggie or my poor poor kitten to
take housing at some place where they aren’t permitted!

Forget it forget you, it will never happen!
When I took him in it was love everlasten’
Away with the idiots that move on without ‘em
Off with their heads this world can do with out them!

Think people think, not just one month or two!
Think a few years ahead where you live what you do!
Maybe baby, maybe job change maybe no job at all!
Think of all of this before you take in one so small!

Dependent they are, depending on you
and they love unconditionally as YOU should TOO
We are the species with God given brains
but instead go to craigslist and flush pets down the drains.

ADOPT, it’s for life, it’s called a commitment
if you do not “get” that then get off the planet.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pet Owners vs. Shelter & Rescues

Everyday thousands of rescues and shelters across this country receive endless pleas for assistance for an animal in need. Most people agree that overpopulation is a problem in our society, but many think that spaying and neutering all animals is the answer. This creates a controversy within the animal welfare industry.

Breeders don't want their species extinct. Rescues and Shelters want overpopulation to stop. Is there a compromise that can be accomplished between the two?

Perhaps bringing some standardization to shelters and rescues and have some stricter regulations on breeding would help. One thing for sure, the state of Iowa admits they can't keep up with all of the individuals in our state breeding animals without licenses. This is where it becomes important that each individual needs to get involved with spreading the word to adopt when possible, or KNOW YOUR BREEDER!

There are some quick and easy ways to check the credibility of both, rescues/shelters AND breeders.

  • The quickest way is to see if they are state licensed. While this doesn't "seal the deal" on responsible, credible individuals or organizations, it does say that they at minimum, paid a fee to operate and are inspected by the state at least once a year.
  • Always ask to visit the facility where the animal is being housed. NEVER meet a breeder or foster in a parking lot or outside of the town where the dog is housed. In some cases, rescues operate on "foster" homes, but reputable rescues will be connected with businesses that allow them to showcase their animals properly. These businesses, like Petco, Petsmart, who have "mobile adoption" opportunities require their partners to be state licensed.
  • Many rescues allow their "fosters" to show the companion and make the final adoption decision. RVAS does not in fact, an RVAS rep is always present unless the foster is a Director or pre-approved, long time well trained foster that has earned their wings to show a companion by themself. The foster has to know the ins and outs of our organization and in most cases, fosters are volunteers who do not want to be that involved with the day-to-day activities of the business.
  • Interview the breeder/rescuer: You are deciding to bring a living creature into your home for life. Don't let the breeder or shelter/rescue give you ultimatums with your adoption/purchase that would hasten your decision (i.e. "well if you don't adopt/buy today it's going to die."). Ask them questions, about the dog's history, both behavior and medically.
    • Shelters/rescues may have limited knowledge of a dog's behavior and/or medical history, but they should be able to tell you it's behavior while in their care. They should also be able to provide you with documentation of all medical care that has been done while in the shelter/rescue care. A high quality rescue and shelter will have the medical history from it's previous owner if it has one. Placing on their contract to "see a vet" and "telling you" they provided vaccinations, doesn't prove they have. Reputable organizations will provide the medical history.
    • Breeders should be able to give you everything, from birth to the adoption of the animal. All medical and developmental history should be made available for you to view before your purchase. You should also be able to see the history of the mother and father of the pups!
  • Registered Papers: Sometimes breeders provide certificates of proof that their dogs are purebreds. Know the difference between AKC papers and APR papers! Do your HOMEWORK on the difference. Just because someone "says it's so" doesn't mean it is. Here is a great link explaining the different registrations.  http://www.ehow.com/about_6123756_apr-vs_-akc-registration.html
The bottom line is that the selection of a companion that is right for you shouldn't be taken lightly or be emotionally charged. This is a 10-20 year commitment. Compare it to buying a car. If we charged $40,000 for a companion, you'd think about it. Remember, it can "move" with you, it will go through natural disasters with you, it will have medical needs, it will require food, water and daily care and attention, including proper exercise. It will have behavior issues, some that you may live with, some that you may want to work on changing. And like humans, it will age, and need special care. The companion is not "merchandise" that, if it doesn't work out for you, something to just "return" or "get rid of".
Almost all shelters and rescues have a contract, and require the animal to be "returned' to their organization before being surrendered or given away, but that doesn't mean it's an "out" for you as a pet owner when change happens or times get tough. If you can't make the commitment...for life then consider volunteering your time for your local shelter or rescue. It's a great way to get an "animal fix" and feel good about saving lives!

Monday, January 23, 2012

2011: Year in Review

The year 2011 is over, but not the memories of some of the wonderful things our volunteers accomplished this past year.

RVAS helped over 3,800 families keep their pets during the year 2011 through our Rehome and Rehabilitation programs. We are living proof that pet owners are capable of handling their pet situations with a little help and ingenuity!

We also helped reunite lost hundreds of pets with their owners by partnering with Iowa Pet Alert, a free web-based data network to assist pet owners reunite with their misplaced companions. While this website has really helped make connections, it doesn't replace pet owner responsibility. Microchipping is still very important should the unthinkable happen and you and your companion become separated. Keep an eye on our website for MC Clinics where you can have your pet chipped and registered for an affordable fee!

And through networking with other shelters and rescues, our social networks, website and events have helped Iowa's rural shelters and rescues adoptions increase as well. When someone contacts us for an animal that we don't have, we help them find an organization who has available what they want. Through networking, animals are finding homes, especially in rural Iowa towns that get little exposure, because RVAS has stepped outside of the box to partner with others.

We know the struggles that rural Iowa shelters and rescues have to save lives. Little support both physically and financially. There are some great people doing great things for animals, and they deserve the support of those animal lovers who want to make a difference. Visit our website for a few of our favorite partners!

And last but not least are those lives we saved. Our focus in 2011 seemed to lean towards the feline population. From trap-neuter-return projects, to rescuing kitties from a garage after their owner had passed away leaving over 20 cats homeless, we spent thousands of hours saving the lives of felines and educational seminars on the cat overpopulation problem.

Our "solution based" philosophy is working. We recognize there is no one organization that solve all the pet issues in our society, but by working together, we are making a difference!

Join us today! Either volunteer your time, your services or your money. Let's do it together, and make the world a better place for all living creatures!

Read our 2011: A Year in Review letter here.