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Cedar Rapids Shelter Holds First Pet Fair

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — In her 33 years of working, Dianne Webber is glad to see changes happening in animal care.

“Before, people didn’t even think about vaccinations or spaying or neutering their pet,” Webber, program director for Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control, said.

But at a low cost, pet owners, both old and new, got animal care services on Saturday at the shelter. That’s because the group hosted its first pet fair.

It’s an idea they’ve had for many years, but couldn’t move forward with at their old facility.

Webber says their ideas all came together because of a blessing in disguise.

“I mean, the flood is what brought us here,” she said.

With the flood of 2008, things changed and last year, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control opened its doors at a new location, located on 900 76th Avenue Drive SW.

It’s a place dedicated specifically to take care of animals and not a building converted to simply house them, Webber said.

It’s also a place large enough where the shelter could have a fair like this. They had informational booths, a bake sale, food and refreshments.

The shelter provided rabies shots and microchip IDs at a discounted rate, and while some just brought their animals for shots, others ended up taking the step to bring home a pet.

Steve Ahrendsen was one of the many to adopt a pet.

“I’ve had Lily for about a year now and it was just time for her to have a little buddy,” he said.

Ahrendsen adopted a kitten for only $25 and will now have two kittens at home.

And not only is he just an owner of a new pet, but he’s also one of many people helping solve a problem. Webber says the city sees too many stray cats.

“We always have more cats than dogs here at the shelter,” she said.

Pet owners also sometimes forget about the important shots needed, which is why she hopes the pet fair can educate them about this.

“Anytime we let a rabies vaccine lapse even by one day, we have to go back to having that rabies vaccine only good for one year,” Dr. Randy Ackman, assistant professor of Animal Health Technologies at Kirkwood Community College, said. He helped give animals the proper vaccinations needed at the pet fair.

Leaders at the shelter say their goal is to have four of these vaccination offerings a year. A day like this is to help with educating others and improving the mindsets regarding animal care. It’s all possible now because of the building’s capabilities.

“Now that we have the new shelter, we have so many plans for so many wonderful programs,” Webber said.

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