I am writing this letter as a resident of Wapello County and a current board member of Heartland Humane Society. You may or may not know the shelter is funded almost entirely by your generous donations and Wapello County does provide some financial support. Currently, none of the cities in Wapello County provide any funding. the majority of the animals come from Ottumwa; in fact, about 90 days ago the shelter was housing over 100 dogs just from Ottumwa. This is an incredible number of dogs, not to mention at that time over 70 cats.

You might find it interesting that a nearby county has a shelter that the count and the city the shelter is housed in, and a private foundation all provide substantial support to this shelter. This shelter only takes in animals from cities in the county that actually pay for this service. Ottumwa before 2009 simply had stray animals killed at a vet’s office. Now those animals come to Heartland. In the past year, Heartland has taken in over 700 animals and adopted out the majority of them. Heartland also has arrangements with other no-kill shelters where some animals are transported for people in those counties to adopt.

In my short time at the shelter I have seen black labs, yellow labs, chocolate labs, beagles, border collies, standard poodles, miniature poodles, labradoodles, chihuahuas, walker hounds, catahoulas, great Pyrenees, German shepherds and all types of mixed breeds some in, and this is not to mention all the cats!

Now the financial part: I was shocked when I learned it takes $20,000-$30,000 a month to keep the shelter open. I checked with the other shelter and was told, yes, that is the same as our shelter, and thank goodness the county, city and unnamed foundation help us out immensely! I would hope you as a resident of the county see fit to ask your elected officials to provide support to this public service or the old policy of killing stray animals could come back (which does cost money, too)! I would again like to thank all the generous donors and Wapello County for providing some support.

Don Darland


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