CORONAVIRUS

Local animal shelters closed or open by appointment only

Animal care technician Jen Read handles Bella, a 4-year-old pit bull terrier, giving her a few treats March 31 at the Io
Animal care technician Jen Read handles Bella, a 4-year-old pit bull terrier, giving her a few treats March 31 at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center in Iowa City. Bella is the only dog remaining at the facility as other animals have been sent to foster homes. She has been with the shelter since October 2019. (Andy Abeyta photos/The Gazette)
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Iowa City’s Animal Care & Adoption Center is closed to the public and not taking adoption applications for now, though it still is accepting strays and sending officers on animal control calls.

It also is accepting pet food donations to help pet owners experiencing financial hardships. To request food, call the center at (319) 356-5295; if leaving a message, include name, phone number and number and type of pets needing food. Staff will contact pet owners when food is ready to be picked up near the front door of the shelter.

To donate food, drop off items at the side, east-facing door, at 3910 Napoleon Lane, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Prescription pet food also will be accepted. Donations also can be made by contacting local pet store Leash on Life at (319) 354-4334, info@leashonlife.net, or at leashonlife.net.

Iowa City animal services coordinator Chris Whitmore said they saw an increase in adoptions and foster placements before they closed.

“We were very fortunate we had a lot of people step up and say, this is the time we want to adopt some cats,” she said. “We’re always looking for more foster homes — right now we don’t have animals who need to go into foster, but that could change in a week. We are right at the start of kitten season.”

She said animals at the shelter are far from being neglected despite a decrease in visitors.

“The ones we do have here we are spoiling rotten. We have dogs running around the front lobby since we’re not open. They’re enjoying their isolation period,” she said.

Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control also is closed to the public but is doing adoptions by appointment. People need to identify the animal they are interested in — they can be found on Petfinder — and fill out an online application at cedar-rapids.org/animal.

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“Adoptions have slowed a little bit. Seeing a photograph is one thing, but it’s not the same as when you can come in and see the animals,” said Ronald Schlabs, program manager.

Officers are still responding to calls and accepting strays but are not accepting owner surrenders.

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