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Dubuque Woman Looking for a New Space for Her in-home Animal Shelter

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DUBQUE, Iowa - Vicky Ruefer treats every cat and dog like they’re one of her own. She shelters a couple dozen animals in the basement of her daughter’s Dubuque home.

Ruefer said, “A lot of these high kill facilities were putting them down and I thought I needed to do something about these babies. So I just reached out. “

All of the cats and dogs at Ruefer’s “Whispurring Hope” shelter are available for adoption. She rescued them off the street and from local humane societies. She says she recused the pets just before she those humane societies were about to put down the animal.

Dubuque Regional Humane Society Executive Director, Maria Denham said, “We feel as if that’s the best choice for the animal and to put them out of the suffering if they are ill or injured.”

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society has euthanized 643 animals since January 2014.

Denham said The Humane Society euthanized 45% of those animals because the animals were either sick or injured. They euthanized 24 % because the animal was aggressive. 23% were put down due to dangerous behavior. 7% of the animals were killed because there wasn’t enough space in the building.

Denham said, “In an overcrowded situation they tend to get sick easier. They tend to have behavioral issue or get a little hissy. “

At Whispurring Hope, Ruefer has an animal dealer’s license through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and is registered as a not for profit business.

But she’s breaking a city zoning ordinance. The house is a residential area and the city says an animal shelter must be in a commercial space.

Ruefer said, “We were in a building but the building didn’t work out so we had to pull them. And when we were in the building I thought it was all going to work out so I allowed people to bring me more so now we’re a little over-loaded. “

As a non-profit, Ruefer doesn’t have much money for rent, so she she’s left wondering where all four legged friends will end up.

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