BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Once again weather is throwing the PAW animal shelter a curve ball.
Less than a month after the Fort Madison animal rescue found homes from close to 30 dogs on the heels of an arctic freeze fostering program, the shelter agreed Monday to take in 15 more dogs that were threatened by flooding in western Iowa.
A horse trailer from Hedrick, Iowa backed up to the shelter on the western side of Fort Madison at about 11 a.m. Monday morning and unloaded the dogs in front of shelter. Workers put up a makeshift corral of fencing and styrofoam to funnel the dogs back to the kennels. Some went willingly to their new temporary homes, some not so much.
Pam Evans, of Ottumwa, who contacted PAW Director Sandy Brown to see if they could take the animals, said she was on her way home from Des Moines when she got the call about the animals in the western part of the state. She met up with Aimee Crow of Hedrick’s Paws ‘N Claws foster home, and the two teamed up to go and rescue the animals in Pacific Junction, Iowa along the Missouri River.
Evans said the two had to take backroads to get to high ground on the Iowa border in the Missouri River valley to a house that was on top of a hill where the river was cresting.
The dogs were part of a backyard breeder or “horder” who was told by law enforcement to either give up the animals, which included goats, mini pigs, ponies and other animals, or face being fined per animal. The animals were contained on land that was flooded and the owners gave the animals over to rescue.
“Some of these dogs were actually swimming,” said an emotional Evans. “About 30 of the dogs had already been released, and we’re just praying they can get to someone.”
But she said she knew Brown wouldn’t let her down.
“Sandy said she would be able to take 10, so we knew 15 0r 16 would be ok,” Evans said laughing while wiping away tears.
Many different breeds emptied out of the trailer and were taken to the kennels by the handlers from PAW.
The last animal was a matted Collie mix named Matt E.
Crow said Evans always gets attached to one animal on rescues and Matt E. got her attention. The stubby collie max had matted hair across his back, but otherwise looked scared with the new surroundings.
Brown said all the animals are going to get some down time to settle into their new surroundings and then they will be evaluated…at a cost of about $250 per animal.
“We’re gonna let them decompress a little and then we’ll evaluate them and determine the boys and girls, give them a distemper and parvo shot and then groom them and get them ready to find their forever homes,” Brown said.
She said the shelter will again offer a 10-day to two-week fostering program for dogs that we’re already at the rescue. That way it will provide some additional time and resources to focus on the new arrivals.
Evans said the shelter saved these dogs lives.
“They may not realize it just yet, but this is a blessing for these dogs. If we weren’t able to find them rescues, they would have died there. I’m sure of it,” Evans said.