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Critter Crusaders tries to keep up with surge of homeless pets with medical needs in Eastern Iowa

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:40 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids works with shelters and rescue groups across eastern Iowa to give medical attention to animals in critical situations. Lately, they say they’ve seen a huge surge in cases.

“It has been intense,” Jan Erceg, a medical case coordinator for Critter Crusaders, said.

People at the facility have a love for animals that’s hard to put a price on, but getting proper veterinary care has a cost. Their average surgery is $4,000.

“We schedule all appointments, we pay for all rechecks, we pay for ongoing medication and care,” Erceg said.

The nonprofit relies solely on donations and the occasional grant to save the lives of animals who may not otherwise survive. The pandemic shut down most fundraisers the organization had planned last year and relies on to raise money for medical care.

“We’ve lost over $80,000 last year alone,” Erceg said.

Now, they’re seeing the most requests they’ve seen since getting their start in 2008. To give an idea, they’ve already done about 15 surgeries this month.

“We’ve gotta catch our breath, we got 4 requests yesterday alone,” Erceg said.

Erceg said they were overjoyed when shelters were cleared out as people quarantined.

“People were home, and they had time, and they adopted pets,” Erceg said.

Erceg can’t pinpoint what’s causing the surge of animals in need of medical attention now or if it’s even related to the pandemic, but she said Critter Crusaders wants to help every animal they can.

“We’re not so proud as to not ask for help when we need it,” Erceg said.

They’re doing a can drive called Cans for Critters with the goal to raise money to keep the mission going. Once the animals recover, they’re put up for adoption through their respective shelter or rescue, to be given a second chance.

“You see beginning to end the results that we get for these animals and it is life-changing not just for their life being changed forever but yours too,” Jessica Hill, another medical case coordinator, said.

You can find information on how you can donate to Cans for Critters here:

Critter Crusaders Cans for Critters information.
Critter Crusaders Cans for Critters information.(Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids)

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