Kiya Koda in Indianola wants families to adopt smart during holidays
Penny, a perky and playful American Pitbull Terrier, has lived at the Kiya Koda Humane Society in Indianola for nearly two years after being rescued and rehabilitated by the shelter.
Julie Skellenger, manager at Kiya Koda, said Penny was used for breeding before coming to the shelter. When she arrived and was spayed, they discovered her body injured because she birthed so many puppies.
She said it’s a shame Penny hasn’t been adopted yet, but she, like the 100 other animals in the shelter, needs a home.
Skellenger said Penny would do great in a home where she won’t come into contact with other dogs because of aggression issues, which is ultimately what has kept her at the shelter so long. She said Penny is a very sweet dog towards humans.
While Penny is the only adoptable dog at Kiya Koda currently, she is joined by an estimated 96 cats and around three dogs that the shelter cares for. The shelter is nearing its capacity for cats because it is only able to hold 100 cats, 20 large dogs and 10 small dogs.
Skellenger said at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiya Koda saw an increase in adoptions and adoption inquiries. The adoptions later slowed and they got many calls asking to surrender animals to the shelter.
She said many people were losing their jobs and even their houses and were unable to take care of their pets.
Skellenger said they usually see a similar pattern around the holidays when people want puppies, but later return them because the dogs grow and don’t look like puppies anymore.
While they aren’t experiencing the same amount of adoption inquiries since the start of the pandemic, they are getting a higher average adoption inquiries for cats right now.
Skellenger said people need to know a couple things before they adopt. She said people don’t realize the time commitment required when owning a pet and just how expensive they can be when veterinary bills, food and toy costs add up.
“Research the breed and what kind of lifestyle they are going to need,” Skellenger said. “If they get a puppy, they need to socialize, socialize, socialize that dog.”
She said it is easier to own a cat because they are more independent, but people still need to put thought into whether they can really handle a new pet.
“They kind of just take care of themselves. Dogs are more high maintenance.”
Kiya Koda Humane Society in Indianola has a knack for finding abandoned and sick dogs and cats, rehabilitating them and helping find a new family.
Benji, a mixed breed dog at Kiya Koda was featured in the Des Moines Register in 2019 when he was found abandoned south of the Indianola Dog Park in a malnourished state with multiple wounds, pressure sores, and other skin conditions.
Benji is nearly two years old now and ended up being adopted by the same animal control officer who found him in 2019. Kiya Koda still cares for him while his new owner is between homes.
Benji has grown tremendously and free roams the shelter along with a few cats, which he occasionally squares off with.
Kiya Koda has been working to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the shelter since the pandemic began. The shelter limits the amount of people inside the building and requires masks. Guests have to either schedule an appointment or call the front desk before entering.
“We’re so small, but knock on wood, we’ve kept COVID out of here,” Skellenger said.
The shelter has two regular volunteers who socialize with the animals and walk the dogs. It also employs nine people including Skellenger and her daughter Bree.
Skellenger said she hopes someday soon, they can put together a fundraising campaign so they can save for a new building. She said the current location is a bit too small and they would like more room both outside and inside.
She said they would also like to do grooming, training and maybe doggy daycare later on.
“We have no room,” she said. “We are running out of space and everything is just sort of shoved everywhere.”
Skellenger said the best way people can help out Kiya Koda is either volunteering to socialize with cats and walk dogs, or providing monetary donations to help with veterinary trips.
She said she understands people like to drop off items like pet food, cat litter and toys, but veterinary needs are the shelter’s biggest expenses.