Raccoon River Pet Rescue holds COVID-delayed ribbon cutting

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Although a year has passed since the Raccoon River Pet Rescue (RRPR) began rescuing pets and adopting them into good homes, the novel coronavirus global pandemic prevented an official ribbon cutting until today.

The RRPR has placed some 237 animals since opening in May 2020, according to RRPR Manager Lexi Linton, who welcomed about two dozen well wishers and Perry Chamber of Commerce members who gathered for the ribbon ceremony, which was followed by tours of the facility and a convivial reception of cocktails and canapes.

Linton said the size of the population varies among the facility’s 13 dog kennels and five cat rooms, each housing eight to 12 felines. Some 130 animals have been spayed or neutered in the rescue’s first year of operation, and dental cleaning and other minor surgical procedures are performed at the facility.

“We are so thankful for all the support we’ve been shown this year by the community,” said Jill Brosnahan, president of the RRPR Board of Directors. Brosnahan was joined by fellow RRPR Board members Joyce VanKirk, Joelle Miner, Janel Repp, Sheri Luett, Larry Meacham and Brent Halling.

Perry Mayor John Andorf, who also sits on the RRPR Board, thanked the board for their dedication to the Perry area’s pets and especially to VanKirk, whose generous donation and perennial care for animals made the new pet rescue possible.

Brosnahan said the RRPR’s recent award of a $2,000 grant from the Bock Family Foundation will be used to help establish low-cost spay/neuter clinics for area pet owners. She said the rescue hopes eventually to start a trap-neuter-release (TNR) program as a means of controlling the size of the feral cat population in Perry.

The Raccoon River Pet Rescue was incorporated in 2018 as a nonprofit corporation and annexed into the city of Perry in 2019. A groundbreaking celebration at the new facility was held May 16, 2019, and an open house was held in February 2020, shortly before the novel coronavirus disrupted many routines.

As Andorf noted, the $2.25 million project was largely funded by Joyce VanKirk, who shared with her late husband, Dallas “Pete” VanKirk, a boundless love for animals. The construction of the RRPR was also made possible by large private donations from the Raccoon Valley Bank, the Bock Family Foundation and the 100+ People for Perry group.

The Perry facility at 14360 Ivy Place is a no-kill shelter, according to its agreement with the city of Perry. The RRPR offers ongoing adoptions, and Perry residents can surrender animals at the RRPR for a $50 fee. For details on adoptions or to volunteer at the rescue, call 515-465-1800.

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