This post is about a new animal welfare group that’s forming locally; we’re calling it K-POP. I feel like I need a metaphor to explain its origin, and I keep coming back to boats. I’m originally from Minnesota (“Land of 10,000 Lakes”) so maybe this makes sense. Do you like boats? Let’s try boats.

There are currently two animal welfare organizations in town, and both do important work. The Adair County Humane Society (ACHS) is the open-admissions shelter that serves Kirksville and the surrounding area. Field of Dreams (FOD) is a limited-admissions rescue that fosters adoptable animals in the homes of volunteers. ACHS has been serving our area for over 40 years; the organization has cared for thousands of dogs and cats within that time. FOD is relatively new (founded in 2007); they have already successfully placed hundreds of pets in homes in just over six years.

We need both groups to tackle the problem of pet overpopulation in our area.

I usually try to keep this blog positive, but allow me to step out of character briefly: Kirksville and rural NEMO, we have a problem. There are way too many kittens and puppies being born. There are way too many adult dogs and cats being surrendered. Baby animals are not cuddly toys that can be dumped when they grow into unruly adults. There aren’t enough homes for all of them.

So here comes the boat! Our current two animal welfare organizations deal with the problem of pet overpopulation primarily by reacting to the problem. They have their hands full. They need to find a foster home for yet another mama cat and her five kittens. They need to figure out who can share a kennel so that they can admit yet another 8-10 month old dog. Ultimately they need to find homes for as many animals as possible. This is more than enough to keep them busy.

I see this habit of reacting to the problem as like folks using a leaky rowboat every day to cross a lake. Because of the leak, they need to constantly bail water to stay afloat. They are forever bailing, bailing, bailing. It’s exhausting and sometimes demoralizing. And their trips across the lake take twice as long as they might, because they are weighed down with extra water and so busy with all the bailing.

Do you see where this is going?

Wouldn’t it make sense to try to patch that leak? Take some time off – skip one trip – to get the boat dry, apply a patch, and let it cure? Then all future trips across the lake would go faster and require less energy.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this community could benefit from some patching, er, some additional energy and resources going toward prevention.

Which brings me to K-POP. A small group of concerned animal lovers (including myself) are starting a new animal welfare organization: Kirksville - Protect Our Pets (K-POP). This new organization will be dedicated to community outreach for the benefit of the area's pet dogs and cats. In other words, we will promote a life-long bond with pets.

This new group has five priorities:

spay/neuter of dogs and cats in the Kirksville area to prevent unwanted litters proper care and training for pets so that they are healthy and well-behaved the use of city licenses, tags, and microchips to help lost pets get home again adoption (forever homes) from either of the two rescue groups in town other strategies to cut down on the number of homeless pets in our area

This fifth item is our flex plan. We want to study the latest research from the field of applied animal welfare for ideas we can use in Adair County. We plan to get help from ASPCA, HSUS, PetSmart Charities, and other national animal welfare groups. We will look into what other communities across the country are doing to protect their pets. In other words we’ll be flexible and adapt as we go.

I’ll be writing more about K-POP after we become an official public charity. At that point your donations will be appreciated. For now please read more about us at our temporary website ( There’s a “contact us” form there where you can indicate your interest in becoming a member.

Let’s keep this boat afloat.