The temporary animal shelter set up at the Equine Center of Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids is extremely well organized and efficient and the people involved are doing an amazing job caring for the approximately 650-750 (as of last night) pets that have been housed there.
HSUS and UAN/EARS are on-site, working alongside staff of the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter, Kirkwood College and local volunteers.
HSUS arrived at Kirkwood equipped with the necessary supplies and experience. They have seemingly learned from the mistakes made at Lamar Dixon - specifically of un-registered volunteers stealing pets and less-than-adequate record keeping and tracking protocol.
The intake procedures at Kirkwood were described to me this way: "imagine the CD collection of the Rain Man; every i is dotted and every t is crossed."
Combined with UAN's already-effective system for disaster animal intake (which was utilized extremely well following Katrina and previous disasters), the operation at Kirkwood is as it should be at this time.
Effective and efficient protocols were implemented immediately to ensure that pet owners can easily find and reunite with their pets and to prevent the theft of pets. They have digital cameras, micro-chip scanners, forms, contracts, vaccines, medical supplies, etc. And plenty of food, crates, and other necessities have been donated.
A decision was made after thoughtful discussion among all parties involved to NOT post the photos of the animals on the internet at this time. The way this was explained to me, it makes complete sense.
Even though many comparisons have been made to Katrina, this is not another Katrina. The people of Cedar Rapids who had to evacuate were not bussed to South Carolina or Texas but remained in the area. Cedar Rapids is not built like a soup bowl like New Orleans is. The water has drained and people are getting back to their homes. They do not have to rely on the internet to locate their pets.
All pets have been scanned for micro chips and all information from rabies or other ID tags has been entered into the animals intake record.
Animals rescued or brought in together (cats & dogs belonging to the same family) are being kept together in the same stall.
All the animals at Kirkwood have been catagorized into one of four groups, each with necessary and appropriate intake & documentation:
1. Animals that were already at the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter. And no, they are not being euthanized.
2. Pets that were brought in by their owners. This is the majority of the animals there. Kirkwood is providing temporary boarding for some of these pets until their owners get back on their feet.
3. Pets whose owners are not known but who were rescued from a specific address or location. These animals have been entered into the database with this address to facilitate easy matching when owners come to locate and re-claim their pets.
4. Animals classified as "strays" at this time - those that were not rescued from a specific location and came in with no ID. This is the smallest group of pets, and we're working with the folks at the shelter to rule out ownership of these cats & dogs.
The Kirkwood Foundation has set up a special fund to accept donations to help with the care of the displaced pets called the "Friends of the Animal Shelter Fund".
Gifts may be made online by visiting www.kirkwood.edu
Checks may be made out and mailed to The Kirkwood Foundation, 307 Mansfield Center, PO Box 2068, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068 and marked "Friends of the Animal Shelter Fund.
Please be sure to send the donations to the above address, as it is Kirkwood College that has generously offered the use of their equine center and it is the College taking on the major cost of housing and caring for these animals.I'll post news and updates soon, as well as more about the protocols being used at Kirkwood to intake and track the animals.