WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Furry Friends Refuge has provided animal sheltering services to West Des Moines for nearly a decade. The city will likely let its contract with the no-kill shelter expire and partner with another animal shelter instead.
West Des Moines City Council will vote Monday on ending its contract with Furry Friends Refuge and start an agreement with De Soto-based AHeinz 57 instead. The resolution also includes remodeling West Des Moines’ former public services building on South 16th Street into a facility to “temporarily house stray and vicious animals.”
If approved, Furry Friends Refuge would likely have to move from the $1 million facility it opened on Mills Civic Drive just three years ago.
Furry Friends Refuge executive director Britt Gagne and several supporters urged council members to reconsider during their May 1 meeting.
“Without having a place like Furry Friends in our community, I feel like it would be a real disservice,” Furry Friends supporter Marianne Reeves told city council.
“It’s just going to break my heart,” said Nancy Boyd, a volunteer with Furry Friends Refuge. “I just hope they have a plan, no matter what happens, but it can’t go back to the way it was.”
West Des Moines officials were not available to discuss the situation on Friday, instead directing WHO 13 to a list of frequently asked questions about the likely change published after the last city council meeting. The resolution to end its partnership with Furry Friends claims there is a “difference of opinion” between the city and the shelter and that it is “in the best interest of the city to pursue other options.”
Gagne worries about the impact to West Des Moines’ pets if the city decides to end its contract.
“There is no plan for owner-surrendered animals in West Des Moines,” Gagne said. “AHeinz 57 will only handle a portion of the animals, the other portion will go to a shelter facility that will be city run. I do you worry that the needs of the animals has been lost in this.”
Furry Friends Refuge is still contracted to provide animal control for Clive and Urbandale. It plans to look for a new home closer to those cities if West Des Moines discontinues their partnership.