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Iowa Humane Alliance seeks funds for clinic expansion, aims to spay or neuter thousands more

A cat undergoes a medical exam before surgery at the Iowa Humane Alliance’s regional clinic, at 6540 Sixth Street SW in Cedar Rapids. (Photo courtesy Iowa Humane Alliance)
A cat undergoes a medical exam before surgery at the Iowa Humane Alliance’s regional clinic, at 6540 Sixth Street SW in Cedar Rapids. (Photo courtesy Iowa Humane Alliance)
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The Iowa Humane Alliance will strive to spay or neuter thousands of additional dogs, cats and rabbits each year through a three-year $1 million “Painting a Brighter Future Together” campaign.

The Cedar Rapids-based not-for-profit will more than double the size of its current regional clinic, 6540 Sixth St. SW, using $450,000 it hopes to generate from people, groups and businesses under the first of three fundraising phases.

Clinic staff currently provide an estimated 10,000 low-cost spay and neuter operations each year, at a rate of 30 to 50 procedures per day, out of its current 2,400-square-foot clinic, purchased and renovated in 2011.

Iowa Humane Alliance expects that figure will balloon to 16,000 annual surgeries once its 2,600-square-foot expansion — with two additional operating tables — is completed.

“We knew that we would be expanding the clinic when we bought this building at some point, we just didn’t know when it would come, and it came sooner than we thought,” Development Director Kathleen Schoon said.

Workers broke ground Nov. 5 on the clinic expansion and expect to finish the project by May 2020, Executive Director Stacy Dykema said.

The organization said the effort will help it in combating what it describes as a statewide animal “overpopulation crisis” and eliminating euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets in Iowa.

Dykema said the waiting period for a spay or neuter operation had been two to three weeks.

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“Now it’s more like three months,” she said. “In the spay-neuter world, three months is a litter. We realized that we needed to be more accessible, that we needed to be able to schedule those appointments quicker.”

Once open, the Iowa Humane Alliance plans to hire another veterinarian, two to three new clinic staffers and one or two part-time administrative staffers, supplementing its current staff of 10 full-time and five part-time employees.

Dykema said the new personnel also could allow the clinic to resume spay and neuter operations for “pocket” pets, such as guinea pigs or rats, which it discontinued for the time being to focus on larger animals.

Under phase two of its campaign, the Iowa Humane Alliance will seek $250,000 for expanding programs to remote and underserved areas, including to stabilize community cat populations and implement wellness services for shelter and rescue partners.

Phase three calls for $300,000 to secure the not-for-profit’s long-term sustainability, and could include creation of an endowment fund, Dykema said.

Since launching the campaign Nov. 5 — at https://bit.ly/2KF63bE — Dykema said her not-for-profit has raised just over $90,000 from donors so far and is optimistic it will reach its overall funding goals.

More than 55,000 animals have undergone spay-neuter surgeries at the Iowa Humane Alliance’s Cedar Rapids clinic since it opened its doors in January 2013.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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