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Animal Rescue League completes major addition

‘Bernie’s Sanctuary’ allows ARL to shelter more dogs

October 5, 2012
By MIKE DONAHEY - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

The late Bernie Escherich didn't forget about the care his once lost dog received at Marshalltown's Animal Rescue League.

In 2009 the Escherich estate bequeathed "a substantial amount" to ARL.

"I was not director at the time but I was told it was substantial," said ARL director Heidi Drager. "The money was put to good use, a nd helped keep ARL open - donations had been down due to the economy."

Article Photos

A Snyder Manufacturing of New Sharon employee is shown installing a kennel section at Marshalltown’s Animal Rescue League Thursday afternoon.

ARL has put Escherich's funds - and others - to good use, and is celebrating the near completion of a 1,472 square foot addition with 44 new kennels on the south end of its complex, 1921 Taylor Ave.

And now ARL isn't forgetting Escherich - the addition is called "Bernie's Sanctuary."

Drager termed the addition "lifesaving" in communication to project donors.

"The $210,000 addition allowed us to install 38 kennels to house lost and homeless dogs, which means we will euthanize much, much less," she said. "Previously, we could only house 13 at a time. During peak times that was a strain. We frequently had to scramble to find adequate spaces for dogs we needed to hold."

Additionally, six kennels in a room separate from the 38 are reserved for viscous or "bite" dogs ARL is required to confine.

"Those animals may be dangerous," said Drager. "The old kennels had no safety precautions in place for employees. Our new kennels allow staff to handle these dogs safely."

The addition also contains a separate area for whelping mothers or dogs requiring isolation.

A more efficient and sanitary waste disposal system is part of the addition.

Marshalltown's 100 Women Who Care awarded $16,600 for the project and the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation provided $10,000.

"We were pleased to support ARL in their most recent expansion effort," said Sue Martin of the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation. "Because they do such a good job, their work sometimes goes unnoticed. We view the organization as providing an essential service to the community."

Construction started in April and 2.5 years of planning and fundraising went into the project.

The major renovation is ARL's eighth since it was founded in 1961.

"We are extremely grateful for the support received from the organizations and others," said Drager.

Contact 641-753-9046 or visit



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