Friday, August 13, 2010

Cat Massacre in Story City Incites Debate about Archaic Rescue Techniques

OK, words are flying fast and furious over the Animal Rescue League’s role in the mass euthanasia of at least 30 helpless cats in Story City.  According to their official Facebook statement that finally appeared this past Wednesday, ARL executives only watched as Dr. Brenda Bright and her unknown assistants removed an unknown number of cats from a hoarder’s home for eventual extermination and disposal.

No one disputes that unfortunate fact.

The ARL's statement also maintains that they did not lead the efforts; they were there simply to assist. Well, maybe. You decide.  According to the Story City Chief of Police, he had spoken to Josh Colvin weeks prior to the day of the removal and that the ARL had offered to “coordinate the entire operation.”  Not having any experience in coping with a hoarding situation, Chief Haffner readily agreed and welcomed the ARL’s leadership with the understanding that local veterinarian, Brenda Bright would be the vet in charge.  Here’s the “assistance” the ARL actually did provide:
  • It was the ARL who provided the police department and Dr. Bright with the legal forms necessary for the surrender of the cats and access to the hoarder’s property.
  • It was the ARL who recruited the members of the “removal” team.
  •  It was the ARL who asked Dr. Deppe for her assistance in finding placement for the estimated 50 cats that were in the hoarder’s possession.
According to the Story City Police Department, the ARL coordinated and led the removal team. Considering the extent of their involvement, their claim of only “assisting” with the operation is a bit of a stretch.  However,  their statement does makes it clear that it wasn’t a real ARL veterinarian who declared that runny noses and eyes were life threatening illnesses and therefore wholesale euthanasia was necessary.  But, then again, the ARL stands firm in their position that it was those non-ARL vets who made the decision to kill the cats, and they just watched... and did nothing.

Again, no one disputes that unfortunate fact.  Although the ARL did take the credit in the news for “rescuing” dozens of cats from a Story City home on Wednesday, August 4th. Going so far as to say, “Some of the animals will have to be put down, but the others will be adopted through the ARL.” (Unfortunately, they haven't relayed that piece of information to their staff since several individuals who have inquired about adopting were told by an ARL representative "we do not have any of the Story City cats.")

So, that brings us to just how many cats were actually in the home and what happened to them?  All the ARL will say is that they took 12 cats to be put up for adoption.  If that’s true, (and we’d like it to be), then good for them, unfortunately, the actual events of the day and their own statements seem to contradict their ‘rescue’ claim.

Apparently, one of the reasons the ARL gave for asking Dr. Deppe to find placement for the removed cats was due to the fact that they, (ARL), told the Story City Chief of Police that they were full and could not take any of the cats.  But, let’s give the ARL the benefit of the doubt and say that they suddenly found room and elected to take those 12 cats back to Des Moines for adoption. What happened to the rest?

We know that Dr. Deppe was only allowed to save 12 animals in spite of her offer to take up to 30.  Her repeated pleas to both Dr. Bright and ARL director Tom Colvin to let her save additional lives at no cost to either the City or the owner were rebuffed.  The ARL’s official Facebook statement asks us to believe that sometime after Dr. Deppe left for the day, Dr. Bright and the ARL elected to actually permit another 12 cats to live?  OK, that still leaves us with 26 cats unaccounted for.  How many were killed and how many were given to ISU for vivisection or experimentation?  Whatever the answer, that’s over a 50% mortality rate and certainly not in keeping with the ARL’s statement to the media that, “Some of the animals will have to be put down, but the others will be adopted through the ARL.”

When all is said and done, the only facts that no one disputes are the following:
  • The ARL clearly had a leadership role in the removal of “dozens of cats” from a hoarder’s home in Story City on August 4, 2010.
  • The medical evaluations and decisions to allow cats to live or die were made by licensed veterinarians not affiliated with the ARL.
  • Another licensed veterinarian and shelter owner, Dr. Lisa Deppe was present and offered to take up to 30 animals at no cost to either the City or the owner.  While Dr. Deppe’s generous offer was refused, she was allowed to save 12.
  • Tom Colvin, the ARL’s Executive Director and his son Josh, the Animal Care & Control Center Operations Manager & Cruelty Intervention Coordinator, were present to ” assist with the proper removal of the cats from the home,” but, did nothing but watch.

No one is accusing anyone of anything other than, doing nothing. When faced with the opportunity to save or kill the majority of these unfortunate animals, Dr. Bright and the two top executives of Iowa’s largest animal shelter chose to do nothing.  But they sure did take the credit for the “rescue.”

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of this tragic event is the message sent to unincorporated communities across the State of Iowa, that the area’s largest animal shelter and self-proclaimed expert in animal control promotes removal and wholesale extermination as the preferred solution to the problem of unwanted animals.   A centuries old philosophy still practiced by many, (but not all), animal shelters today.

This is the 21st Century and our laws and procedures regarding animal care and control should reflect the attitudes and morals of the day, not those of over 100 years ago.  Progressive communities across the country have embraced contemporary legislation and policies on how we, as a society, approach animal over population and control. One excellent example is the Companion Animal Protection Act . This is a law that targets shelter practices to relinquish animals to licensed qualified groups and individuals rather than euthanize the animal. This does not stop shelters from killing, but it does prevent them from refusing those who stand in front of them trying to save a life. California has one. Delaware just passed one! We can too! The time is now so that situations like what happened on August 4 in Story City are never allowed to happen again.

You have to ask yourself just how can either one of those gentlemen from the ARL stand in front of the public and ask for money to save animals after doing nothing to stop the killing in Story City when they had the chance.  Even if Dr. Bright had ignored their intervention, at least they might have tried.

But they didn’t.

Perchance they’ve just operated one way for too long to change.  Perchance they prefer to hide in their fortress behind walls built on the bodies of the tens of thousands of luckless animal companions deemed surplus by archaic policies and procedures.

Yes. It’s time for a change.  If you agree, here’s what you can do:
  • Organizations like the ARL and legislators are about numbers. So we'll give them what they can understand. We need to “see” your voice. Soft or loud, anyway you want to speak, step up and be heard. Let those who people who want to change the law, know you support them.
  • Comment on the blogs. Show your support by letting those who are courageous enough to speak out know they are not alone. Subscribe or follow their blogs and social media outlets so you can stay updated on the latest news and events.
  • Cross post everything you receive. Use social networks (like Facebook, twitter) and email friends and family. Ask them to speak out and help spread the word. We need everyone’s voice whether you live in Iowa or not. WARNING: The ARL is attempting to silence any comment or question about this topic on their facebook page. Those that have commented about this topic have had their comments deleted and have subsequently been banned from their site.
  • Notify your local news media and ask them why there is only one part of the story being told. We submitted our story to several local stations, but have heard nothing in return.
  • TALK ABOUT IT. Share the information anyway you can. Get the word out that a new era has begun. We will no longer tolerate animals being killed while organizations stand ready to save their lives.
  • Sponsor one of the lucky twelve that DID make it. Every shelter and rescue across this country is "full" and has limited funding. You can help by volunteering or sponsoring one of those 12 precious lives that Dr. Deppe fought so hard to save. Contact Jewell Animal Hospital for more information 515-827-5700 on how you can help.

This is where we start the ball rolling. We need to know how many committed souls are ready to make change! 

We are…are YOU?

If you want more information or would like to join those who are working on the new bill, please contact Citizens for Animal Welfare Reform at


  1. Of course you can count me in with anything that will help the plight of Iowa's animals. And someday maybe we will be able to finally rest knowing that we have done all we can and that the innocent are safe from those who's jobs it is to protect them.

  2. ameow2002:

    Thank you. We will have a website up soon, along with a facebook page. We will begin with the voices of those who lost their lives that day.

  3. Poster didn't understand how to post as sent an email with request to post.

    "I live in Story City. I'm so disheartened by the actions of our local veterinarian. I do know that Dr. Bright is a good vet, but her ethics for saving lives is beyond something I could understand.

    I know it must have been very difficult for you to come forward like this. I appreciate your honesty and courage.

    I thank all of you for working so hard for the animals. It sounds like those cats didn't get a chance. At least now they have your voices.

    For those of us who wish people were kinder to animals...I thank you."

  4. Anonymous:

    Thank you for your kind words. We agree that Dr. Deppe is a noble woman for placing animal welfare before popularity.

    We can make change with your help. Please keep watching for updates and we will place the call to action when the time comes.

  5. Dr. Deppe should be commended for her courage and integrity in standing up for the Story City cats and we should never overlook the fact that at least 12 of those cats are alive because of her insistence!

    That she couldn't save more was not her fault -- but it was the fault of someone (or some ones!) -- whether it was the ARL or Dr. Bright or the Story City PD or the mysterious "They" who seem to take the blame for everything we are too cowardly to own up to.

    The fact remains: euthanasia is NOT a solution to the problem of too many cats. Spaying and neutering is a better solution; education is a better solution; giving the cats that exist good homes where they are loved and where they don't continue to breed uncontrollably is a good solution.

    Let's take a stand once and for all on the side of LIFE. This can be a NO KILL NATION if we want it badly enough.

    I mourn the murdered cats. I want to make sure that this murder for convenience stops happening.

  6. thank you for being courageous enough to not let these poor animals die in vain. Although I do not live in Iowa, there is a shelter here in Kansas City that claims to be no-kill....and deceives the public into giving hundred of thousands of dollars to them. They only euthanize they say....if the animal is vicious or they have a medical problem.
    Although we are licensed in Missouri, they have refused us our breed as we could provide medical care...they would rather euthanize then hand over the dogs to another licensed Animal Care Facility.

    I have been following your blog, and saddens me greatly to see a huge shelter not allow a licensed vet with her own facility to bring in the cats and place them into loving is a tragedy beyond words.

    thank you for not allowing these companion animals to die in vain...we support you!

  7. I posted a question to their facebook page, asking only for transparency and accountability. Not accusing, not blaming, just asking for them to stop deleting and blocking people. I didn't even mention the issue.
    My comment was deleted and I've been blocked.

  8. Stefanie,

    It is this type of unprofessionalism that will cost them supporters, not those that witnessed events and asked for answers.

    It is this type of arrogance that will cost them supporters because eventually people will see, that they may not be all that they appear to be.

    It is your voice that helps others see that this is not a small group of people with personal vendetta's. They are covering up something. Or feel they are so superior above others, that they don't have to be held accountable.

    Where we feel they are missing a step is that anyone who does support them, has the right to ask questions. They are a non-profit, and Tom Colvin and Josh Colvin's actions DO have to be answered by the Board. Unfortunately Tom's wife is the president. So this family run business has built an empire...

    But bigger kingdoms have been brought down by smaller groups...Arrogance will always reveal truths.

    Thank you for speaking out.

  9. Mary,

    We thank you for your support. From your post you understand why we have taken the stance to start an organization for our country to stop situations like this.

    The Animal Welfare Industry has been broken for a long time with small kingdoms across our country mandating what "they" think should be done.

    This is not about kill vs. no-kill but about respecting all those in the industry, who have been licensed and are operating legally and professionally.

    ARL is just ONE example of many. We hope our new organization will help you in your state. Keep an eye as the developments of this are being discussed as we speak.

    It's time for those who find solutions other than euthanasia as a management tool to control overpopulation, to ban together...and speak for all those who have been silenced over the years.

  10. The deception here on what is going on with this is disturbing. I read everything and things just do not add up here.

    How can a shelter that large NOT have kept better track of the numbers? Or the vet? Someone HAS to have the numbers of those cats.

    Why is no one producing them? You have all these people and organizations asking.

    Lives are in question here, or the number that were euthanized. If nothing was done wrong, then why is there so much silence from those who "handled" the animals?

    Silence is guilt in my opinion. The quieter they are, the more guilty they are. The ARL obviously has media power...why aren't they using it?

    Something just doesn't add up here...and someone is very, very guilty of wrong doing...I'll be watching closely.

    R. Murphy

  11. I saw this story and wanted to learn more about it. I contacted the Story City Police department and they told me that the ARL was in charge of the rescue efforts.

    Do they think I'm that stupid? Why would the police call arl to just assist? That doesn't make any sense.

    I tend to want to believe that since the arl will take no responsibility other than being there, then the REAL truth lies behind the words of these articles, rather than the arl's official statement.

    Regardless of the WHOLE truth...cats DID DIE and numbers are NOT being told. That's the tragedy. And if arl was there THEY SHOULD have made sure the numbers were kept. Now these cats died for nothing.

  12. Oh no! Is there ANYTHING that can be done to stop this sort of thing from happening? I mean isn't it against the law for a shelter to kill like that? This is so wrong on so many levels!

  13. The ARL was not started by the Colvins, it was not their baby per say. That is why the nepotism that has been allowed to go on there is atrocious.
    No "Boss" should be putting his family in employment there, you have Tom the boss, hiring Carol his wife and she being allowed a second vote on this Board along with Tom, and then you have Josh the son, the one with the attitude being paid for jobs I have never been able to figure out quite exactly what they entail. And now he has two jobs, Animal Cruelty, Intervention, Investigator Expert etc etc......and HEAD'S Animal Control. I just would love to know his salary$$$
    This is never allowed in any reputable business except one that was started and financed by a family or person which basically they own or call the shots in that company or non-profit they started.
    The Colvins are not the ARL, the ARL was long established before Tom was hired, and the rest, well, I guess you can say is history, or maybe finally will be history making, we will see.
    They brought this all on themselves, people have voiced concerns, be it in blogs, in phone calls etc, and they stuck up their noses, don't return calls, snubbed Rescues and get VERY defensive if you even question them. Maybe they should have been a little more willing to work with others that can do it just as good or better then they can. And cut the crap that this is a vendetta or grudge, that is again blaming others for your choices or lack there of, and this is happening in lots of Shelters.
    Karma's a B!

  14. I am an intelligent being. I know there are always TWO sides to every story.

    I have read this news with great sadness.

    I can not fathom the site of those precious faces, their world upturned only to die.

    I can not understand so many lives lost when someone stood there, arms outstretched to save them.

    I can not tolerate those who are seeking answers being ignored by those who do have the answers.

    I will keep an open mind throughout my support, and hope that the other side of this story WILL be told. But until such time those who have the answers begin to speak...

    I will help anyway I can to bring those justice!

  15. So do you just want to discredit all the work the ARL has done up until this point?
    How many animals have been adopted through them? How many animals have they saved?
    I understand that this is a very sensitive subject and the debate is he said/she said. There was not a RVAS representative at the site, but you make comments like you were.
    I am an animal advocate and when any shelter in the Des Moines area emails me for help, I forward those messages on their behalf and try to help.
    What happened earlier this month is extremely sad, but I wasn’t there and I am not going to have an extremist attitude about it. You should take this opportunity to advocate for the animals and place positive attention towards RVAS.
    Name calling and pointing fingers is childish and unprofessional. This point of view should have been coming from an individual, not the RVAS as a whole. You have lost my support officially. I had been on the fence during this whole situation. And this does not mean that I am on the ARLs side, there are 2 other no-kill shelters in the Des Moines area that probably feel the same way do you, but have taken the higher road and not publically attacking another animal shelter.

  16. I spoke with several people today regarding this situation including IDALS. I wanted to know what could be done.

    Unfortunately, what RVAS has said here is laws were broken. They did encourage me to write the board of directors. I read on facebook where the President of the Board is Tom Colvin's wife. Is this correct?

    How does one go about filing a grievance against a family member to another family member? I'm not sure where to turn from here. Can someone help me?


  17. Sally, it is ust so unfortunate when those looking to protect those who are being asked to explain their choices publically distract by making statements which simply are not true. Neither RVAS nor anyone else as been name calling, pointing fingers, simply asking questions about why cvats were cilled when there was both free medical care AND forever homes waiting for those cats who did not have to be killed.

    I do kind that it is a waste of time to try to change the minds of people who are unwilling to consider that a mistake in plocy might have been made and be willing to make different choices. So What I spend my time on instead, is to support efforts by groups like RVAS to educate others that other choices and actions ARE available and can be expanded if people will pick up the ball. My county animal shelter, the second largest in the US has a 40% euthanizing rate (coming down inspite of the rising number of abandoned and rescued animals ...57,000 this year, up from 55,000 the prior year. My animal control works their asses off to help get their animals out to rescues and rehomed, they go out in the community and so much more to bring the euthanizing numbers down (as they have!)

    So again, please oin us in helping people to know that these kinds of killings do NOT need to happen by sharing the story far and wide, then support the education and legal reform that groups like RVAS are trying to bring to your great state!

  18. Whoa...back up the bus! No one is denying that the ARL does some good. By their own figures they take in 19,000 a year, approx 5000 are adopted out, almost 2000 are reclaimed by owners, BUT what of the other 12,000? What happened to them? Did they magically disappear? No, even though they don't spell out what happened but this isn't rocket science people..they are dead. Just like these cats. Rescue isn't all about happy puppies and kitties, rainbows and's dirty, nasty and ugly just like the facts here. An eye witness gave her account of what happened that day. No one disputes that right? A qualified veterinarian with a shelter license just like the ARL has, offered to take them to save their lives, right? Her offer was denied, right? Other licensed, reputable rescues, mine included were standing by waiting to help, right? Only 12 cats were saved, right? WHY??? Questions have been asked of all involved and left unanswered. RVAS became involved at MY request for help. Anyone with a moral conscience would do the same. It is obvious that our shelter system is broken. When animals continue to die needlessly there is a problem. When someone gets paid to do a job and fails 12,000 times a year then there is a problem. It is time to make a change to see that something like this never happens again! Thank you Dr. Deppe, RVAS and all involved in bringing this to the public's attention and not letting these cats deaths go unnoticed!

  19. NOW I have to speak.

    To Anonymous.

    How DARE you! I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you aren't just stupid but ignorant! What ignorant arrogance you have to compare those who work and save lives every day to those who read scripts for a living.

    I ALSO volunteer. Five years ago I landed in Des Moines. I immediately selected the ARL because I thought they were reputable. I thought animals were their priority. I can speak with a clear conscious that what I witnessed and heard was deplorable. The inside walls of that place have hidden demons.

    I saw dogs with no blankets...standing in their own feces while staff and volunteers gossiped in hall ways. I saw dogs who hadn't passed the temperament test be held against their will to die. I witnessed those scared creatures that came in lost, be placed in cages and forgotten about. The animals were always last there. There were some good volunteers, don't get me wrong. I was among about a group of five of us, who truly were there for the animals. But many of the young volunteers were gossipy kids who were spoiled rotten and didn't come and work, that's for sure. I saw with my own eyes how caring the ARL is for animals!

    But that's not my point. I had the CHOICE to leave, to walk away and find something new.

    But those who are dedicating their days, nights, weekends and lives to rescue and shelter do not. They have made a commitment. And I'm grateful that they do. I can't give of my time like they do. We all are so grateful for these people, but so many of us can't find 2 hours a week to help them. And often times they do it alone!

    They put animals first, ahead of their families at times. They struggle to find balance everyday between living a life and saving a life.

    They take phone calls in the wee hours of the morning to panicked voices seeking help.

    They transport animals on their weekends, and pay all the expenses to do so.

    They invest hundreds of their own money to make sure an animal receives the vet care it needs.

    Their hands are on these lives when they are born, and gently stroke them as they receive heal from neglect. And they hold them when it's time to move on.

    They treat each animals as if it was their own. They recognize the magnitude of the problem and the do what it takes to care for each soul that crosses their paths. They do the work of five people, and save more lives then a staff of 20.

    The work endless hours, and cry tears of heartache. They often share none of this as there just isn't time. They are dedicated, hard working souls, who would never abuse the power they had, but instead use it for good.

    How DARE you criticize the people for passionately being disgusted of actions by an organization that is worth 8 MILLION in assets with a staff of 20 who stood by and watched animals die...and did NOTHING!

    How DARE you have the arrogance to condemn them because they asked 'WHY' or because they seek an understanding.

    Dr. Deppe took in 12 cats. At an estimated $100.00 a cat she has asked no one for a dime. I started the sponsorship campaign for those cats and was immediately ridiculed by some ARL groupie for doing so, stating that she thought Deppe was taking them for free. Yes she is. She will bear all expense, but she shouldn't have to. And those who believe in the lives she saved will fund those lives. To give Dr. Deppe a little relief for the work she has done to give them a second chance.

    I'm GLAD you are off the fence, and I'm glad you fell the other way. Dr. Deppe, RVAS and the other shelters and rescues who cried themselves to sleep that night deserve better!

    Please spare me your righteous attitude. You, my friend, have the blood of animals on your hands for the venom that spews out of your mouth!

    How DARE you!

  20. Question:

    What are you "off the fence" from?

    With all do respect, I have to ask what information that was revealed here that would be that "deal breaker" for you?

    Your comments want to focus on the thousands of animals the ARL claims to have saved. So let's do that. This is FROM their website.

    19,000 animals brought in.
    7,000 they claim to have saved.
    = 12,000 animsls WHERE?

    I love how gullable people are. They see these numbers and question nothing.

    It's easy for people like you to go about your daily lives, picking out all the little "good" things that happen in a day, and then passing judgement on those that deal with all the crap. It's selective vision. See what you WANT to see, not what IS.

    I bet if you asked the ARL how many animals were euthanized they will tell you a mere 3,000 "adoptable". What is adoptable?

    From their actions, the 30 or more cats in Story City were not "adoptable" because of runny noses and eye infections. These cats weren't even tested for disease or given antibiotics. They appeared sick, therefore they should die? Is this 'really' acceptable to you?

    The bottom line: Cats died that didn't HAVE to, not because of not enough homes, not because they were sick, but because Dr. Bright said "no" and the ARL stood by and allowed it.

    And THAT'S giving the ARL the benefit of the doubt.

    Yes, please get off the fence. I have no tolerance for people who pass judgement without being informed.

  21. I have a few questions. I am not for or against anyone in this situation. The only problem I have right now is that cats died. I would like to know if it was preventable, or not.

    How many cats were involved? KCCI reports dozens. RVAS articles say 50+ and Dr. Deppe's blog I believe said 30 (or vice versa). So do we know how many cats total?

    What, if any, did they die from? If licensed vets made those judgement calls I trust their opinions, but why is it not being told? I don't think anyone expects animals in those types of situations to come out healthy.

    It's unclear what the criteria was on that day. I'm a cat lover. Cats died. I understand pet overpopulation. I know that there are hundreds of cats. I am aware through Alley Cat Allies that cats don't have to die if they are feral.

    Were these cats all feral and unsociable? If they were is that why Dr. Deppe was denied permission to take them? If Dr. Deppe is a licensed veterinarian wouldn't that have been her choice?

    I'm so confused by the information, or lack thereof, that I do have to admit, and again not taking sides, there are many pieces missing to this puzzle.

    I have voiced these same concerns to the ARL of Iowa and am hoping to receive some clarification as well.

    My conclusion today, based on the information that IS being provided, is that those in charge, whoever they were, did not have a plan of action that included saving lives. It would appear that the intent was in fact, to remove and dispose (I think those were the words used) of the animals in the situation.

    If that can be proven, I will join any action for justice. But with what is out there now, it simply is not concrete enough for me. But I AM watching and waiting.

    I will say that those who remain silent make me question as to why? I will continue to try and get answers as well, from those involved.

    Thank you for your time and right to share my thoughts.


  22. Maybe we SHOULD give ARL the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don't recognize when a cat is sick or when it is well, when it is seriously sick and can't be treated or whether a course of antibiotics and some deworming and de-fleaing would turn the corner on a cat's life.

    Maybe they think that if a cat is breathing, it is obviously sick and should be euthanized. Maybe they equate scared with unadoptable -- never mind the fact that the cats were just then uprooted from the environment they had come to know and trust regardless of its unsanitary conditions.

    Maybe they believe that cats who hiss or growl have rabies? Or that cats who are withdrawn and cower from humans they don't know and that want to put them into an unfamiliar carrier that probably smells like disinfectant are plotting to tear out the throats of the first person who tries to adopt them?

    Maybe they think that any cat that managed to end up with a hoarder doesn't deserve to live?

    Sure. Let's give them the benefit of all these doubts. There's one thing we can't doubt -- they "said" they adopted out 12 of the cats (the number they allowed Dr. Deppe to take!) but they haven't commented on what happened to the other cats they took from the hoarder.

    There's no doubt about that.

  23. I grew up in the Des Moines area so I'm very familiar with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

    I think, however, some people are trying to make this a battle between shelters instead of sticking to the topic.

    Animals died...PERIOD! And a person stepped forward and said they didn't need to. That's where this began...not between shelters.

    Dr. Deppe's blog, whether a tainted opinion or whether factual, is still out there for people to read and react to. Whatever her "intent" was, it's there.

    I commend those who have not rushed to judgement, but instead seek answers for an understanding. I applaud those with the courage to ask questions so all of us can become informed and inquire about the subject at hand ourselves.

    While I recognize the ARL did make a statement, I'm not sure that facebook is the right forum. I also feel that their statement was vague. The only direction they gave for answers was to contact the police. And they are sending people right back to the ARL.

    So here we are, stuck. What, we, as animal lovers, pet owners, advocates or just tax payers, should be doing is writing letters, emails and contacting people ourselves, if we want answers. Or, contact the group that is trying to become organized and offer our support.


    Read the information, nod our heads and say "it's a shame" and do nothing.

    Either way, animals will continue to die, no matter what the truth is, until answers are given and lessons learned.

    The point...stick to it.

    Animals died. And nobody is taking any responsbility for it. THAT'S THE POINT!

  24. I want to begin by saying that I have known Tom Colvin for years. He is a very nice man, and I do know that he cares for animals. He has dedicated alot of his life to helping animals.

    Tom has been integral in the foundation of ARL and where it is today. I would never deny him the hard work he has done to do that. And I refuse to get into a turf battle about the success of the ARL, but I will say this:

    I expect more from the ARL. I expect more from Tom, himself.

    They are a multi-million dollar organization that has been built from our tax dollars and from our hearts. People who place animals before food on their table are their donors. People who have money that gives them their status in society are their donors. All walks of life, animal lovers, business owners helped build that beautiful building because they "believed" that the ARL is about saving lives.

    Every piece of marketing in our face is about how many lives they are saying, the success of legislation being built and the progress being made in saving lives.

    No matter what the "truth" is behind the Story City Iowa situation...I expect the ARL to be leaders in animal welfare. A Facebook statement is hardly an official statement. And if in fact, that's where they chose to answer these questions, I can understand why people are upset.

    I'm disgusted with the fact that they have done nothing so far.

    I have to disagree that it is RVAS publicly bashing the ARL. I think ARL's silence in this matter clearly shows an arrogance that they are above others who seek an understanding of anything. I wish I didn't feel that way. But I do. ARL are the bigger people, or should be.

    No matter what happens now, the ARL has been given the opportunity to be the bigger organization and they have chosen to do nothing.

    Actions are much louder than words...and I think with the ARL's silence, they are saying everything!

  25. Rick,
    I totally understand and appreciate your sense of outrage and frustration over the lack of concrete information from those who participated in this tragic event.
    Please permit me to shed a little unbiased light on what occurred in Story City on August 4, 2010.
    A week after the event, I personally spoke to the chief of police and according to him, the owner of the cats estimated that she had "around fifty cats and kittens, maybe a few more or less," she wasn't sure of an exact number.
    Dr. Deppe's account is accurate, but she did leave with the twelve she was allowed to take prior to seeing all of the animals removed. According to her eyewitness version, when she did leave, there were at least 30 cats in the euthanasia line. I suggest that you re-read her blog.
    Again, during my conversation with the chief of police, I asked him if all the cats were out of the home. Remember, this was a week after the “removal” and mass extermination. He confirmed that not all the cats were removed that day and baited traps were set in an attempt to capture the remaining.
    When I asked what the future would be for those animals, he said that they were, and are, being taken to Dr. Bright’s clinic for euthanasia.
    I admit that there has been quite a bit of conjecture about exactly what happened to all of those animals. Some have argued that since ISU faculty and students were involved, a number were given to ISU for vivisection. The only verification of that theory is that one volunteer was bitten and the offending animal was killed immediately and the body given to ISU for rabies testing.
    In the only statement issued by the ARL, they claim that they took 12 cats with them to Des Moines for adoption. Although, when a number of people called the ARL’s main number and asked about adopting any one of those 12 Story City cats, they were all given the same response by the ARL representative, “We do not have any of those cats from Story City.”
    Dr. Deppe was given and has 12.
    In spite of repeated requests, neither Dr. Bright nor the ARL will provide anyone with the actual number of cats removed, killed, or rescued. However, given the owner’s own estimate of there being around 50 cats and kittens in the home, at this juncture we can only account for the 12 Dr. Deppe took and the one killed for biting.
    Not a pretty picture. But then, those who have the answers aren’t talking.
    Hope this helps.

  26. Tom needs to step aside and be an employee like Josh and Carol if they all qualify and allow an unbiased person with no connection to the Colvins and who has a strong background in Animal Welfare to take over as Director.
    And that person needs to look at the salaries and job descriptions of the employees working there and make sure it is needed and the salary fits.
    This cat situation is what is going on in so many Shelters, it's just that the ARL gets SOOOOO much funding and donations and media attention that they need to be held to a very high standard, I mean the Colvins speak of themselves like in a third person of all the wonderful things "they" do. And then this will send a message to all Shelters and Directors and even Rescues that if you and your employees are not making the animals a priority and using all the reputable outlets and people you have to offer these animals entrusted to you the best chance at life, and giving them the quality care they deserve while they wait and wait and wait for homes, you will be held accountable.
    No more secret societies allowed, especially with the big paychecks these people receive and the nepotism going on.
    It's got to stop and if it takes 30+ cats deaths to finally reveal the dirty little secrets it will not have been in vain.

    This will take time and as one that was asked by a "lowly" employee of the ARL years ago to please take in two small dogs that were scared and obviously not showing their true colors at this overwhelming place, yet instead Paula the "animal behaviorist" said NO and deemed them unadoptable and they were instead killed.

    I have been waiting a long time for this lack of respect for animals at far to many Shelters to come to light. And it's not about grudges and spite, it's about accountability, period!

    Speaking for the Voiceless!!!

  27. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments and insight. We have started a discussion panel over on FACEBOOK with the group Citizens for Animal Welfare Reform.

    We welcome this insight over there. We ask that you share your experiences, your thoughts and your ideas.

    We can come together and make change. No one wants to "shut down" the ARL. They offer services like many of us do...but we do want to be on an even playing field when it comes to saving lives.

    We need to educate rural Iowa Communities and offer support for animal services, rather than have situations like these turn into tragedies with City Leaders who TRIED to do right and called for help finding themselves being thrown under the bus for trusting in our animal welfare system.

    The ARL and Dr. Bright represented ALL OF US on August 4. If you condone their actions. Then say nothing. If you don't...then speak out now!

  28. To the writer regarding the two dogs that were euthanized rather than saved.

    This is the mentality that needs to change.

    Many disagree on what is "savable" and "treatable" and "adoptable". There is no national definition so it is left to those who have property of the animal to decide.

    The ARL's practice is quite different than most. We differ on what is savable, treatable and adoptable. That's fine. We can agree to disagree.

    But to deny licensed facilities the chance to save a life because they think otherwise is wrong.

    And to choose DEATH over life is hardly in support of their own campaign.

    This is NOT about kill vs. no kill but about allowing equally qualified licensed organizations the same right. If these people/organizations want to invest time, money into an animal, then the ARL should release them to them instead of dictating their own values of life onto others.

    Without a law that forces the ARL to do won't be done. We hope you support our movement.

    Visit Citizens for Animal Welfare Reform on Facebook. if you DO not Use Facebook, then please contact us directly and we will update you

  29. To the commenter who posted:
    "So do you just want to discredit all the work the ARL has done up until this point?"
    Are you serious? Discredit them? They discredited themselves when they boasted in the media their wonderful "rescue", taking ALL the credit & then when accountability was asked for about cats who died, they absolve themselves with their statement. Have you even BOTHERED to learn the FACTS?

    "I am an animal advocate & when any shelter in the Des Moines area emails me for help, I forward those messages on their behalf & try to help."
    That's great that you take 2 minutes out of your busy day to "forward" emails around to already over extended shelters & rescues. How about coordinating the rescue EFFORTS! Or SPONSOR an animal? Pay for its medical expenses. Try transporting it. FOSTER IT! Pull a worm out of cat's butt, THEN you can talk about being an advocate. You pass judgement on those who actually DO the work, while you offer email support. NICE ADVOCATE!

    "What happened earlier this month is extremely sad, but I wasn’t there & I am not going to have an extremist attitude about it. You should take this opportunity to advocate for the animals and place positive attention towards RVAS."
    It is very hard for me to respect you with such ignorance. Extremist attitude? Sad? It was MORE THAN SAD that cats were killed! It was a tragedy that didn't HAVE to happen. And it DID happen because Tom Colvin thinks he is God's gift to animal welfare! This isn't about RVAS so don't make it about them. I'm a volunteer (not for RVAS) and have been for years. I wasn't angry when I started being a volunteer, but people like you just tick me off. You are so full of yourself that you haven't a CLUE how difficult shelters LIKE the ARL make it for other organizations to save lives. They obstruct the work with their righteous power trips and kill instead. I actually DO the work not just sit around and TALK about it. Perhaps you should be an ARL volunteer...all they do is talk about saving lives. And people like you join them for status & buy into their lies. Just because you weren’t THERE doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. What ignorance!

    This isn’t about RVAS, but about the cats that died because of runny noses & eye infections when someone wanted to take them. That's hardly ADVOCACY. There are a lot of shelters/rescues out here that are equally, if not more, qualified to save lives. I'm GLAD they challenge the ARL. Those who ARE advocates for animals NEED to know the truth. People like you, don't and don't WANT to know. Good riddens!

    I'm sorry RVAS. I do not mean to be disrespectful to your blog, but I'm tired of hearing loud mouth people like the one above flap their tongues as if they even understand the problems for the animals, calling themselves advocates, while sitting on their butts behind a computer telling the world they "volunteer" pushing a damn computer button. Give me a break!

    Lacy P.(I'll SIGN MY NAME you chicken)

  30. Lacy,

    We are open to everyone's opinions and recognize that many speak from first hand experience.

    Our goal is to always bring education to every situation. We all choose, do to this differently however and can only educate those who wish to become informed.

    No offense taken, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with our readers.

  31. I just saw this blog. I am a volunteer at the ARL and I don't understand why everyone is so upset. I was told that they could only save 12 cats because the rest were too sick to save. I don't want to be in a place that isn't trying to save lives.

    How do we know that those cats weren't sick? I'm really worried now. I hope cats didn't die that weren't sick.

    I trust the ARL. I have been there for 5 months now. I don't understand any of this. Can someone help me understand?


  32. Lindsay,

    Thank you for asking. We wish we could answer your question but we can't. We don't know. We wish like you, to know the answers.

    The Story City Police and Dr. Bright told us that the ARL was keeping track of the numbers that were saved, killed and rescued. The ARL has stated they took 12 but have not been able to identify those 12 when people ask to see them for adoption apparently.

    Dr. Deppe DID take 12 and has already posted some of their photos online.

    That leaves well over 30 unaccounted for. And we know as of August 10, they were still setting baited traps to catch more. Those cats were being taken to Dr. Bright and/or ISU for experimentation/vivisection.

    That's what we have confirmed.

    ARL is answering people with statements that there is "misinformation" going around, but they are the only organization "not talking" to those asking questions.

    RVAS was asked to help with an inquiry to find out what went wrong. We have left 2 telephone messages for Tom and one for Josh and no one has returned our calls to date.

    Those are the facts we have in hand at this time.

  33. Lindsay, as one who volunteers for local rescues, my deal breaker is when I am decieved as happened in this instance. The key element for you to consider is that THESE cats had a fully qualified local vet who VOLUNTEERED to save DOZENS more with FREE MEDICAL help and HOMES for them to go to after they were healed!

    What I learned is that I cannot support a management who does not themselves have a level of intergrity or ethics, not just for the animals, but for the HUMANS (whether paid or volunteer). I was actually on a BOARD of one rescue here in Phoenix that I left because their ethics were so questionable, I could not support them, internally or externally.

    My time and effort is better spent with those groups who understand there are other options like RVAS. I because educated. NOW I am saving MORE lives and also helping others to NOT abandon animals in the first place!

  34. Lindsay...i understand your confusion. As one who was involved from the start, i am very confused too! I personally asked Dr Bright what she considered so critically ill that warrented death. Her response, 'URI's and eye infections'. Being involved in the animal welfare industry professionally for years i know that these conditions are treatable. I deal with them everyday. Especially with an equally qualified vet, on site, offering to take them and provide their veterinary care, spay/neuters and re-homing. You need to ask why? This was a needless tragedy that didn't have to end like this and my goal is to prevent it from happening again. Maybe we can't save them all, but we could have saved these, and to deny them the right to life because of a misguided and archaic mindset in unconscionable and can't be tolerated!

  35. WOW! I know this is not a funny situation, but I did giggle as I have read some of the comments. I'm not sure I can measure up here, but I do want to support those people who have come forward to tell this story.

    It's hard for someone like me to understand all the dynamics here. I shamefully am not a volunteer or donor. I am a responsible pet owner. My animals are seen regularly by a vet, and spayed and neutered. I have 2 cats.

    From reading all of this, and coming from a background of what I would also say is ignorant regarding animal welfare, I can't help but wonder why the Animal Rescue League isn't at least trying to discuss, not necessarily answer, the situation with those involved.

    I must admit that I have the impression that the Rescue League are experts in their industry. It's a bit disturbing to see such a large industry take a hit like this. I don't feel that everything being said here is all accusations as they say. There's truth in both sides.

    What bothers me out of all of this, right or wrong, is that one group appears to be TRYING to communicate and the other isn't.

    I'm extremely disappointed that something so large, so professional isn't willing to talk, to teach, to learn.

    I appreciate all of you who, are fighting for what you believe is right. I'm disappointed that the Rescue League is not more forthcoming with answers or explanations, and I promise I will find a place in my pocketbook to support the smaller groups.

    Keep up the good work of saving lives. Don't be discouraged. The truth, someday will be revealed, and people like me, uninformed, will learn.

    Thank you for all you do.

  36. Would it help to have a letter writing campaign to the news stations to get them to tell YOUR story?

  37. I have a TONS of questions, so please be patient with me?

    1. Was there a deal struck with the Story City Police and Dr. Bright to kill the cats?

    2. Was there a deal struck with the Story City Police and the Rescue League?

    3. Was there a deal struck with the Story City Police and ISU?

    4. How many years has Dr. Bright been practicing veterinarian medicine?

    5. How many years has Tom Colvin been the Executive Director of the ARL.

    6. How could state licensed individuals and organizations not be held accountable BY the state for inaccurage record keeping?

    7. Are veterinarians required to keep records of euthanasia?

    8. Where does one turn for answers to these questions?

    I'm out of state but I want to know. IF, and I say, IF these are NOT accusations, but facts as stated above, then I will be writing letters and joining anyone who can prevent this from ever happening again!

    thank you for your time.

    Marianne Landers
    Flint, Michigan

  38. A lot of posts here. I'm glad so many of you are seeking answers and providing feedback (whether you agree or disagree - at least you are speaking out). I am all about freedom of speach and appluad you one and all. That said - I do feel the need to respond to Anonymous who stated: "...there are 2 other no-kill shelters in the Des Moines area that probably feel the same way do you, but have taken the higher road and not publically attacking another animal shelter." In my opinion? Their silence speaks volumes. This isn't the 'high road' they are taking. It's the exact same thing that the ARL did - stood by and did nothing. Are they looking the other way? Not speaking up because it's easier to just stay silent?

    I'm not very eloquent so, forgive me for quoting MLK Jr: "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. "

    Deciding not to speak out against an injustice is just another way to condone it. If they agree that what happened was not an injustice or don't care if it happened - then that is their right and I respect it. But if the don't agree with what happened then they have an obligation, as animal welfare organizations, to speak out against injustice done to an animal in need. If WE don't speak out for those that have no voice - then how do you expect anything to change?

    Best regards to everyone here (and keep those comments coming!).
    Julie Masimore (RVAS volunteer since 2004 and damn proud of it!!)

  39. Thank you for sharing this tragedy. Whose place is it to take so many lives? This is so disturbing and sheds a most callous light on ARL. I can only hope that those poor cats did not die in vain and changes are made to prevent this kind of injustice from happening ever again.

  40. Hi Julie, I would offer a slightly different perspective on the posts that at least I have written in response to this from the home of the second largest animal control in the us with at 40% euthanizing rate.

    I WORK with that animal control because if there is ANY excuse to get an animal out, if there is ANY body who will step up to help, whether it is sick, whether is is unsocialized, or behaviorally challenged... they will give that animal up and pray that the person taking will not turn it back in.

    My efforts are to HELP them find those human bodies to help the fourlegged ones.

    What I AM doing is asking questions about this organizations practices and what bothers me is the misdirecting answers, half truths, outright lies and no answers.

    What I am certain happened is Tom or someone called the School that the Vet students were from and said - HEY how ould you like to get some FREE cats for your students to proactice killing and cutting up??? No one will miss them!!! Certainly no one would have, except golly gee, one VET stepped up and not only offered free medical help but also homes for dozens of cats slated for the schools students!

    I believe that Dr Bright insisted on keeping those cats because she honestly believed she was serving a greater cause she knew most people would not agree with.

    Now also since there is virtually NO transparency from the ARL, we are unable to resolve the conflict, for instance, between their claim that they receive " The ARL receives no state, federal or United Way funding" roflmao. where you can see for your self!

    Anyone can see how misleading that information is.

    They are under contract to retrieve animals for which they get a bounty (per head from COUNTY the traditional deliverer of animal control services by state mandate) and in some circumstances, directly from some cities!

    So I would offere reseptfull and with great appreciation for the work you do, that it is not about the organization, but about the practices and management choices which are being challenged! See the bottom line of the issue for me, is that unless and until ARL is willing to step up to say, "wow we screwed up, we are sorry and we will work WITH you to make sure THIS SPECIFIC situation NEVER happens again", I will not let up!

    THIS SPECIFIC SITUATION is NOT negotiable for me because there was BOTH FREE medical care AND FOREVER homes! THIS situation did not need to happen!

    I can see that by not letting those cats come in through ARL doors, they can absolutely say, (more misleading statements like): "NO we dont GIVE cats to the school for students to kill from our supply.

    Again, without the transparency of access to the donor list that SO MANY non profits are embracing as a result of the The Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We dont know that ARL did orhas not recieved donations from that school as a reward for looking the other way in this or other circumstances.

    Today I have ZERO tolerance for these misleading, misdirecting, half truths and outright lies being presented by politations, businesses AND non-profits.

    If ARL has a practice of allowing the school to get cats in return for money or other services, ok! How else will the students learn on animals who have different health problems?

    I may not agree with that management choice, but I respect that but they can do what they want... Then MY letters naming ARL will stop because I dont work AGAINST situations, I work FOR change! What I am doing here is Ssupporting EDUCATION and AWARENESS using a specific example for those people who do not believe that something like this would ever really happen!

    I also choose to do what I want, with supporting other groups LIKE RVAS and others who make different choices. In the future, perhaps (as one example, that city PD will call RVAS rather than ARL because they also support the choice for life and health.

  41. I am very dissappointed and tomorrow I'm making lots of phone calls to do my own research. I'll let you know what I find out.

    In the past I have always supported the ARL. That was before I starting beleiving that the ARL had power to do alot more than they were. I worked in a shelter about 10 years ago, and I'm still haunted to this day by my memories there. It's hard for me to believe that very much has changed since then. I know how these places run. Now that I have gotten a little older, and seen a little more, I've realized that unfortunatly you can't put your trust into the people you've always thought were there to help. It's taken me this long to come to terms.

    This was unacceptable on every level.
    This is NOT the way this will continue to go.

    The answere to this nightmare is simply to eduacate the public. EVERYONE needs to learn the facts and numbers, and about pet overpopulation. It needs to sink in. I've been in denial for a whole decade!! Shelters (all of them) need to get down and dirty and get out there and spead the word. People don't like to hear it, but they need to. It's TRUE.
    Along with educating, we also need to IMMEDIATELY get the ball rolling on contacting all the state reps to get these laws changed! Not just hear, but nation wide.
    We also need to take out all the PETLAND -type stores. I can't believe people pay hundreds of dollars for those animals "knowing" there are homeless pets that will be euthanized without our help. Duh!
    Anyone with more ideas, please share.

    There - feels good to get that off my back! This is how I truely feel - and I'll be following my heart!!!!!!

  42. You are right. There needs to be change. But it's on all levels. It's MORE than overpopulation. It's more than laws that stop dog fighting and limit breeding, until the industry can get a hold of all the problems.

    But this story is worse. And I'll tell you why.

    The very organization that was called upon for their "expertise" denies being "in charge" and only assisted. But through that assistance they openly admit they watched as 30+ cats were marked for euthanasia. When questions are being asked they try and cover up with inconsistent written statements and silence.

    Many people have written them. They have shared with us the answers they are getting via emails. And they are not all the same.

    The bottom line is that we now have proof that they never intended on it being a "rescue" but instead a humane slaughter. After all, aren't we ALL inundated with too many cats?

    Their cover up tactics didn't work...and now there is a movement...and large one that will not only expose the "inside truth" of shelters like the ARL, but will put into action a bill that will never allow people like Tom Colvin to make horrific decisions on a whim and deny other equally qualified people their RIGHT to save that life.

    It will be exactly what Iowa has needed for a very long time. ANIMAL SHELTERS instead of one gigantic animal control unit in Des Moines Iowa that offers only services to a selected few.

    The time is now...A new era has begun!

  43. Why is it so hard to get how many cats were saved?

  44. I thought that shelters were there to protect the animals? I do understand the need to euthanize and am not against it if it helps the animal from suffering but did these cats REALLY need to die?

    Why weren't they turned over to the other vet? I just simply do not understand this. Would writing letters help get answers? I would be happy to write a letter if that's what it takes.


  45. Emailed to Citizens For Animal Welfare Reform:

    Would you be able to post this on the Raccoon Valley article. I'm unable to get it to post. It gives me an HTML error and I'm not sure what that means. Thank you.

    Barb Bellum

    "I wanted to start by thinking everyone who shared their story regarding this matter. I have learned a lot about a world I never really knew. I'm one of those pet owners, who goes along treating their pets like family...spayed, vaccinated, not really paying attention to the dynamics in the system.

    The information is so overwhelming. To think that any shelter would kill more than they save is beyond something I can grasp.

    I visited their website. The numbers are there. Now my math skills are not good, but I can add and subtract. There are approximately 10,000 animals that we don't know what happened to them? That's A LOT!

    I have to say I probably won't take any side but the animals side. Now the question is...WHO is speaking up for the animals.

    Right now, it appears in this shelter race that Dr. Deppe, and those who are supporting her blog are those who speak for the animals. So if that's a side, then that's the one I'm on.

    Not because I believe everything that's being said.

    But because the ARL's voice is as quiet as the dead cats.

    To me, that's the real tragedy here.

  46. Laura,

    Anyway you want to voice your concern, as long as it is legal, is acceptable. It's your voice. You have the RIGHT to have it heard.

    If you are a donor, you have the RIGHT to know where your money goes as well.

    "Traditional" shelters, like the ARL, who are not setting goals for the future condone the killing of animals to control overpopulation. They do not have aggressive spay/neuter programs. They do not have aggressive rehabilitation programs. And they provide same day adoptions to get the "numbers" out. This produces emotional based adoptions and higher return rates. Animals are shuffled back and forth through shelter doors because people are not prepared for the responsibility.

    Also, because of these hasty decisions/screenings...dogs wind up on the ends of chains...cats wind up outdoor without claws. And animals suffer and die.

    What is being said as true by traditional shelters can be challenged, and in most cases proven incorrect when it comes to the "number" of animals.

    Let's not forget that when your shelter is also animal control services, by law, you clean the city streets of "nuisances". While many see this "has to be done"....there IS a better way.

    No ONE organization will ever be able to control the overpopulation, bring education and awareness, and change the laws. Together we can.

    Fortunately, there are enough "fed up" organizations in Iowa that have now banned together, one EASTERN IOWA division and now central, to make change. And together...we WILL make change.

  47. For those who are undecided.
    For those who sit on the fence.
    For those who don't believe.
    For those who don't want involved.
    For those who look the other way...

    EUTHANASIA: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

    KILL: 1 a to deprive of life : cause the death of b (1) : to slaughter (as a hog) for food (2) : to convert a food animal into (a kind of meat) by slaughtering


    In memory of those cats massacred on August 4, 2010. This is dedicated to those who did not get the chance to speak for themselves, the air that was not felt, and the trust that was betrayed.

  48. Anonymous:

    Thank you for your beautiful tribute. And thank you for bringing education to the forefront. Together we CAN make a difference.

  49. Barb,

    You are right. The voices of those felines that will never be heard is the REAL tragedy. And they depend on people like Dr. Deppe and all the shelters that stood by to save them.

    We do not lead anything...but we will walk along side of everyone who wants to reform the animal sheltering system, so that those voices are not silenced in the future.

  50. The ARL may be able to KILL CATS to silence them, but they can't KILL PEOPLE!

    My voice will never be silent until ARL either gets on board with animal welfare...or goes away. It's their choice!

    I challenge everyone out there to stand up NOW and don't let them kill YOUR voice!

  51. Covering Up Witches

    The latest verbal stone thrown by representatives of Iowa’s largest animal shelter was a comment that anyone interested in discovering information regarding ARL operations was part of a “witch hunt” being perpetrated by the Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary organization and its supporters.

    For the record, the term 'witch-hunt' is most commonly used to describe the act of seeking and persecuting any perceived enemy, particularly when the search is conducted using extreme measures and with little regard to actual guilt or innocence. It is used whether or not it is sanctioned by the government, or merely occurs within the "court of public opinion".
    Well folks, no one around here has ever considered the ARL as an enemy, real or perceived and “within the court of public opinion” apparently the ARL can do no wrong. So, I don’t really think ‘witch hunt’ fits what’s going on. In fact, I believe what’s really happening is an attempt by a rather sizable and pissed off group of animal lovers and ARL supporters to unveil a ‘COVER UP’
    Check out this definition of the term and see if it isn’t a much better fit: A ‘COVER UP’ is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrong-doing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information.
    The expression is usually applied to people in authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism. Those who cover up may be those responsible for a misdeed or their allies, or simply people with an interest in silencing criticism. That’s a much better fit, don’t you agree?

    ‘COVER UP’ is a much more appropriate term for what has everyone up in arms to uncover the truth about what happened to all those cats in Story City and why.

    Now, what about the ARL’s assertion that RVAS is behind all this angst being directed toward their fine organization. Well, let’s consider these facts:
    • RVAS didn’t issue a press release claiming that they “rescued” dead cats.
    • RVAS didn’t turn away a qualified rescuer who offered to save cats condemned to die.
    • RAVS didn’t try and silence those who asked, “What happened?.”
    • RVAS didn’t delete opposing comments from their Facebook pages or ban those with conflicting points of view.

    However, it is true that RVAS did respond to over 43 requests from individuals to ascertain if Dr. Deppe’s assertions were true. As Dr. Phil so aptly says, “No matter how flat the pancake, there are always two sides.” So, RVAS did endeavor to interview several members of the Story City “removal team” in order to clarify the actual events that took place that day…even going so far as to contact the ARL representatives involved to get their side of the story. Many people talked to us, but not the ARL. They wouldn’t return our calls.

    Since Dr. Deppe’s account of what occurred was so unbelievable, RVAS did make an effort to validate her statement by providing the “other side of the story” in a factual and unbiased manner. True, the truth made a lot of people angry. Then again, so did the actions of those who stood by and did nothing.

    Now about those witches we’re all supposed to be hunting, I believe they’re hiding under a cover made from arrogance, indifference and unaccountability. One thing’s for sure, when it gets hot enough, the covers come off and all is revealed.

    Look out witches.

    Respectfully submitted,

  52. I've been a volunteer at the ARL for the past 8 years, I foster cats & dogs, and have adopted all my pets from various shelters for the past 25 years. I was aware of the cat hoarder situation you discuss on your web site but I wasn't there in person so I have no first hand knowledge. A friend of mine told me about your web site and some of the comments written by you and various contributors. She's a very involved volunteer at shelters and is very experienced in animal care but not very computer literate. She wanted to present a more balanced view and post her view on your web site and asked me to help (it's actually very easy but I helped her anyway). I watched her type and submit her comment. A few days later I looked for her comment but it wasn't there, even though others have since been posted. I read through all the comments posted on this subject looking for hers but it was no where to be found. So I'm going to weigh in also, even though I don't expect to see it posted.

    In reading over 50 comments I found one supporting the ARL, all the rest were varying degrees of negativity towards the ARL. I can only come to the conclusion you're not posting all comments, only those that support your point of view.

    I read the ARL's explanation, as you did, and their comment of deciding to stay out of an ongoing battle of words. I didn't see one negative comment directed towards RVAS or any other shelter (no kill or not) on their site. I highly respect this position and see it as a class move on their part.

    In reading your site you said "No one is accusing anyone of anything other than, doing nothing". But further on I read your comments in referring to the ARL as "arrogance", "unprofessionalism", "this family run business has built an empire...", "coverup", and inconsistent written statements". This is an inconsistent message on your part at best.

    The ARL said a lot of "misinformation" was being spread. I read on your site statements you made like "Those cats were being taken to Dr. Bright and/or ISU for experimentation/vivisection", "They do not have aggressive spay/neuter programs. They do not have aggressive rehabilitation programs.". Not true. This is misinformation.

    Every animal adopted by the ARL is spayed or neutered. They actively promote spay and neuter programs. They have animal behavior professionals on staff who work with animals to make them more adoptable. They train volunteers (like me) on how to work with animals with behavior problems. They have dog training classes every weekend to work on the behavior of the most needy animals to make them more adoptable. They allow pets that were already adopted to return for these behavior classes at no cost to the owner.

    You'll notice I haven't discussed blame on the cat hoarding situation. I wasn't there so I won't blame either vet or the ARL. I'm only commenting on my personal observations and experience with the ARL, and the quotations made on your site.

    My friend's comments were more along the lines of let's work together for the animals and not whip up a campaign of vitriol against another successful and high quality rescue organization. I agree with this assessment.

  53. I wanted to take a moment and let your organization know that the ARL is now contacting shelters across Iowa to "update" their database. They asked us for our address and our email.

    Not sure if this is related somehow, but wanted you all to know.