The evacuation of the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter began around 1:30pm Wednesday (June 11th). Staff had been boated in for days previously by the CR Fire Department to care for the animals. Although the shelter had been surrounded by water in past river risings, when it was determined that this time it was going to be different the evacuation was initiated. Volunteers were alerted and streamed down the only road left to access the area laden with carriers. At this time, cats were brought by boat to a raised piece of road where trucks waited to take them the rest of the way through a channel of water crossing the road. From there they were put in a stock trailer and transported to KCC who had offered their beef cattle barn as a make-shift shelter. Next came the small dogs then with 27 big dogs left to bring out, the fire department made the decision that the water crossing the road was too deep for animal control trucks to continue to drive through safely. Hearts sank with the fear that animals would be left behind, but with the job left unfinished, and time working against them, CRFD and CRAS staff new it was time to get creative. The rest of the dogs were boated out through a neighboring farm field that was now part of the river. It was slow going even with 3 boats operating non-stop as the larger dogs had to be brought out virtually one by one so as not to cause an incident between two animals that might swamp the boat. If anyone wants to question why Cedar Rapids needs a new animal shelter, forget about the inadequate space & ventilation, forget that it's a run-down 40-year-old wastewater treatment plant, forget that it's not even in the city of Cedar Rapids, just look at this event and remember the people in boats risking their lives to get the community's animals out of a dangerous area that floods almost yearly.
Animal Shelter Evacuated
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