Dasher the DogIowa’s largest animal shelter is putting out an urgent plea for pet lovers to consider adopting a dog or cat.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa has four locations in central Iowa and is several hundred animals over its capacity.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Filer says the Des Moines-based shelter faces record overcrowding and urgently needs more people to step forward to adopt or foster animals.

“We’ve had a lot of animals getting adopted but we’re still certainly not out of the clear and haven’t reached our goal yet of 300 animals by Sunday,” Filer says. “The response has been amazing and we’re hopeful the interest will continue and we can get some animals into new homes.”

Iowans who have been considering adding a Fido or a Fluffy to the household likely won’t find a less expensive option.

“Now through Sunday, we are offering cat and dog adoptions at $25, which still includes their spay/neuter surgery, their microchipping, their vaccinations,” Filer says. “That’s significantly discounted from the $100 cat adoption fee and the $125 dog adoption fee.”

The shelter can comfortably handle about a thousand animals. “We’re beyond that full capacity,” Filer says. “We have cats in the lobby, cats in our meet-and-greet and training rooms, we have cats in all of our offices. Cats are our biggest need we have right now. We have about 900 cats in our care.”

This week, the shelter hit a record with nearly 1,500 animals total. Between 20 and 30 adoptions are being processed daily, but that’s not keeping up with the intake.

She says, “We get about 30 to 50 animals turned in to us every day and that’s either from animal control or the public picking up strays or people who are surrendering pets they can longer care for.”

Donations of canned cat and dog food, dry cat and kitten food, cat litter and cash donations will help to underwrite the cost of the medical care provided for each animal.