Starting a new life

Displaced dogs arrive in Marshalltown from Irma-damaged Florida

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS New canine arrivals took a few minutes to stretch their legs and sniff around the Animal Rescue League of Marshalltown’s outdoor area Saturday. The dogs arrived from an ASPCA mega-shelter in South Carolina, where they wound up after being displaced by Hurricane Irma in Florida.

It’s a long journey from Florida to Central Iowa, and 15 dogs are set to find new homes here in the heartland after Hurricane Irma left them displaced down south.

The canines arrived at the Animal Rescue League of Marshalltown Saturday afternoon, and were delivered from an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) mega-shelter in Duncan, S.C., after Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida earlier this month.

“Some of them were in the shelters before Hurricane Irma hit,” said Marshalltown ARL Director Shelly Deal. “There are some of these that were surrendered by individuals who lost their homes.”

She said emptying shelters in the hurricane-affected South will open up room for more animals that will surely be found in the coming weeks and months.

“The Animal Rescue League of Marshalltown reached out to the ASPCA and asked ‘How can we help?'” said John Bolin of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “They agreed to take some of the animals as their way of helping with the Hurricane victims.”

As they disembarked the large, air-conditioned, orange-and-white ASPCA trailer, the dogs took a few minutes to stretch their legs at the Marshalltown shelter. They came in all colors and sizes, and their different personalities were on display.

“We just sent out the last shipment of animals from that (ASPCA) shelter,” Bolin said, adding animals were shipped from that area to other shelters across the country.

Despite a lot of excitement for the new arrivals, Deal said hopeful adopted parents will have to wait until the dogs are all cleaned, acclimated and pronounced healthy.

“One thing people need to understand is that these dogs are not going to be available for adoption right away,” she said. “They’re all going to need bathed, we need to let them get used to their surroundings, we’ll have to do some medical treatments on some of them and put them through the SAFER test.”

Deal said two of the dogs are confirmed to have heartworm and will require treatment. Additionally, at least one was diagnosed with tapeworm, and a few others had not been neutered, meaning increased medical costs for the ARL.

Volunteers to help clean are welcome, Deal said, adding donations are also being accepted to help pay for medical expenses.

She said donations can be sent to the ARL at 1921 Taylor Ave., or can be dropped off during visiting hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

“Also, you can donate through PayPal on our website,” Deal added. “Within a few days, they’ll be ready to go.”

The 15 new arrivals is enough to double the shelter’s number of dogs, and now they will have about 30 that will be up for adoption.

Deal said this was the first time the Marshalltown ARL had accepted animals from the ASPCA.

“Even though we’re not as big of a shelter, we still could help,” she said. “Now we’ve got the partnership, so we can help in the future.”

For more information on the Marshalltown ARL, visit


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or