“Lady,” an Australian Cattle Dog or “Blue Heeler,” peers out of her kennel at the Clinton Humane Society on Wednesday. The dog is available for adoption to families experienced with the breed.

The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CLINTON — The dog’s body was infested with maggots, and its bones were exposed in places. Jean Regenwether, administrator at the Clinton Humane Society, said the animal, beyond saving when it was brought into the shelter this year, was one of the worst abandonment cases of her 18 years with the human society.

“I would rather euthanize an animal as opposed to seeing it dumped on a road, hit by a car, killed by a coyote, abused, neglected and suffering,” said Regenwether. “Because I know that I can at least try very hard to get it a home.”

Regenwether said pet abandonment cases are rising, along with the number of animals surrendered to the shelter for financial reasons. The shelter has recently had to start a waiting list for people to surrender their pets over because of the surge of new animals coming in every day.

For information on adopting a pet, volunteering for the shelter or surrendering an animal, contact the Clinton Humane Society at 563-242-2457.

In a healthy economy, the shelter sees six new animals a day. Last year, the number hovered a little above seven animals a day. Regenwether says the figure rose to 10 new animals a day in the last few months, and that the shelter could bring in 750 more animals than normal for the year.

Regenwether said the waiting list, along with the $25 donation the shelter requests from people surrendering over their pets to go toward the animal’s care, can often deter people from going through the right channels to bring animals in.

“We have people dropping cats off in the parking lot,” said Regenwether. “We had one dropped off yesterday. They just came out, dropped him off in the middle of the night.”

Cats, Regenwether says, make up the majority of rescues. The shelter took in 131 cats in July, although August leveled off slightly. The shelter has seen more puppies and kittens this year, along with more small animals like birds, guinea pigs and rats.

Last year, the shelter adopted out 156 dogs and sent an additional 100 to rescues, along with 141 cats adopted out and 35 sent to rescues. The number of animals being adopted from the society is slightly lower than average this year, while the number of animals being sent to rescues has risen drastically.

“This year, we’ve already blown every number out of the water,” said Regenwether. “We’ve already doubled both of those numbers.”

The humane society works with about 25 shelters and rescues to place animals. Funds from the city help support the shelter, and local suppliers donate food. Even with the shelter operating at full capacity, Regenwether says the humane society makes every effort to save every adoptable animal.

“Euthanizing is the absolute last option,” she said. “They are a living, breathing, sensing being. We are their stewards.”

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