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Our Featured Des Moines, IA Partner:

Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc.

5452 NE 22nd St
Des Moines, IA 50163
(515) 473-9101

Dog adoption and cat adoption saves lives. Adopt a dog or adopt a cat and you'll have a friend for life! Contact us, or contact another local humane society, animal shelter or SPCA.

Pets at Our Shelter:

Cities, Towns, and/or Counties We Serve:

Central Iowa and beyond

About Our Shelter:

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) is Iowa's largest nonprofit animal shelter, caring for many thousands of pets each year. The ARL serves people and pets from across the state of Iowa through its programs, which include pet adoption, humane education, pet behavior training, spay/neuter, animal cruelty intervention and much more.


The ARL has grown dramatically since its founding in 1926 — expanding its programs that serve both people and homeless animals across Iowa. The most obvious growth is the number of animals the ARL provides shelter and care for each year. Intakes have increased annually from a few thousand animals a decade ago to over 17,000 animals in 2012.

Other areas of growth include the ARL's programs designed specifically to address the reasons animals end up in shelters, including spay/neuter, behavior training, and humane education programs. The ARL's positive reinforcement training program has expanded to offer year-round classes, as well as free behavior advice for dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets. The shelter continues to spay and neuter all dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and pigs that are adopted from our shelter.

In addition to the animals that come through the ARL's doors, the ARL also serves the people of Iowa through its many services.


To promote animal welfare, strengthen the human-animal bond, and prevent the overpopulation of pets.

Donate to Our Shelter...

Come Meet our Pets:

You can contact the Animal Rescue League of Iowa at any of our locations. Please note that we do not respond to emails about individual pets for adoption.

Animal Rescue League of Iowa — Main Shelter/Administration
5452 N.E. 22nd St.
Des Moines, IA 50313
Phone: (515) 473-9101
Fax: (515) 262-2612
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

ARL West
1500 22nd St.
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Phone: (515) 473-9133
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

ARL South
1111 E. Army Post Road
Des Moines IA 50315
Phone: (515) 473-9134
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

ARL Petsmart in Ankeny
1715 Delaware Ave.
Ankeny, IA 50021
Phone: (515) 289-0667
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Our Adoption Process:

The Adoption Process

Steps in the Adoption Process:

Find a pet online or through an ARL media spotlight.
Visit the ARL adoption location where your potential pet is located and meet the pet.
Fill out an adoption application form to find out if the pet is the right match for you and your family-both other human and dogs living in the home, if applicable. (You can NOT adopt via the website.)
Complete an interview with an ARL adoption counselor.
Meet & Greet: If there are children living in the home, they must meet before being adopted. If there are other dogs living in the home, a dog intro is recommended.
Wait while the pet receives a final inspection by the ARL's medical staff, including insertion of a microchip.
Pay adoption fees and head home with your new, lovable pet!

Note: The ARL may require other information or steps be taken prior to adoption to insure the pet is a right match for your family. The ARL reserves the right to deny any adoption for any reason.

ARL Adoption Requirements

You Must...

Be at least 18 years old.
Make sure all the adults living in your household know about the pet and agree that it can live there.
Introduce the pet to the other humans (and possibly other pets) living in your household prior to completion of the adoption.
Have a valid identification with your current address.
Understand that no animals will be adopted for consumption or research. The ARL only adopts animals as family pets.

Special Notice Regarding ARL pets online:
The ARL updates its adoptable animals online daily and attempts to promptly remove pets that are no longer available. However, please be aware that we cannot guarantee that all animals posted are still available for adoption.

NO pets will be 'reserved' or 'held' for individuals who call or e-mail the ARL. Please understand that we must follow this rule so that if someone is at the ARL and desires to adopt a pet, they will be given the opportunity to do so. "First Come, First Adopt."

Adoption Fees

While you can't put a price tag on a lifetime of hugs, kisses, companionship, and unconditional love, there are costs involved in caring for a healthy pet. When you adopt a companion animal from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, we've already performed procedures that are critical for maintaining his or her good health. These important benefits are provided to you at a greatly reduced cost.

Animal Type and Fee

Dogs/Puppies: $125
Cats/Kittens: $100

Small Animals
Chinchilla: $75
Degu: $25
Ferret: $55, Bonded Buddies for $75
Guinea Pig: $15
Hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat: $7.50
Rabbit: $50, Bonded Buddies for $75
Sugar Glider: $150

Cockatiel: $40
Conure: $150
Canary, dove, parakeet, pigeon: $10
Finch: $7.50
Lovebird: $50, pair for $75

Reptiles & Amphibians
Anole: $10
Fire-bellied toad: $20
Hermit crab: $7
Iguana: $15-$90
Turtle: $20

Horses and other Barn Buddies: Fees vary. Contact us for more information.

We think you'll agree that the pets at the Animal Rescue League are not only the best in the world, but the best value in town! Click here to view the "Price is Right" posters for cats and dogs!

Dogs & Puppies ($125)
First Worming
Initial Vaccinations
Microchip and Tag
Reduced price collar and leash
Heartworm Testing
Handouts on puppy information
Free Behavior & Training Advice
10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store
10% off training class when registered at time of adoption (note: 50% off for pit bull or bully breed mixes)

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE dog or puppy: $300-400.

Cats & Kittens ($100)
First Worming
Initial Vaccinations
Microchip and Tag
Reduced priced collar and carrier
FeLV Testing
Handouts on kittens/cat care
Free Behavior & Training Advice
10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE cat or kitten: $300-400.
*Also see Happy Cat Prescription program below to get 2 cats/kittens for $125!

Rabbits ($50)
Handouts on rabbit care
Free Behavior & Training Advice
10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE rabbit: $150-200.

Adoption Programs

The ARL, in partnership with the Purina Pets for People 55+ program, is offering FREE cat & dog adoptions (age 3 years or older) for individuals age 55 and up! Similarly, though the Pets for the Elderly Foundation (PFE), when an individual age 60 or older adopts a cat or dog of any age from the ARL, the adoption fee is just $50! Purina and the PFE Foundation believe in the positive power of pet companionship for seniors so they have partnered with the ARL to make pet-ownership more affordable! These programs are only available while the funds last, so hurry in to any ARL location or view the pets available for adoption to fall in love with a new cat or dog! Please note: the standard application process still applies to this adoption program. Click here to view the Pets for Seniors program coupon!


Take two and you won't need to call us in the morning! The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) has historically recommended and promoted the adoption of two cats or kittens. The ARL has done this because we believe it is emotionally healthy for cats and kittens to have feline friends and have found some behavior issues can easily be solved or never occur with the addition of two cats or kittens to a household.Therefore, the ARL has started the "Happy Cat Prescription Program" - a specialized program that promotes two cat or kitten adoptions.

Here is how it works:

An adopter can adopt any two cats or kittens for an adoption fee of $125. Both cats and kittens must reside in the same household and adoption contracts will state that the adopters agree that the cats/kittens will live together in the same house. Adoption counselors will help adopters to make these matches of cats under the Happy Cat program. Costs are based on an average of prices quoted for similar services by several local veterinarian clinics. Click here for more information. The services provided by the Animal Rescue League are in no way intended to be a substitution for regular, professional veterinary care. A list of veterinarians in your area will be provided by your adoption counselor.


Introducing the ARL's newest adoption campaign: Paws for Patriots! Starting 11-11-11 (Veteran's Day), all U.S. Veterans are eligible to receive 50% off adoptions and 50% off ARL dog training classes! Thank you to all who have served our country! (This program will continue indefinitely.) Click here for more information!

Why should you adopt?

Dog adoption and cat adoption saves lives. Adopt a dog or adopt a cat and you'll have a friend for life! What is the difference between adopting a dog, adopting a cat, adopting a kitten or adopting a puppy versus getting dogs for sale, cats for sale, puppies for sale or kittens for sale from a dog breeder or a cat breeder? When someone is breeding puppies or breeding kittens, they are creating new dogs and cats who need homes. Some people are interested in a very specific breed of dog, cat, puppy or kitten and they think the only way to find that specific breed is to buy a dog for sale or buy a cat for sale from a puppy breeder or a kitten breeder. Yet animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats who must find homes. So rather than buying a dog or puppy for sale from a dog breeder or buying a cat or kitten for sale from a cat breeder, we encourage people to adopt a dog, adopt a cat, adopt a puppy or adopt a kitten at their local animal shelter, SPCA, humane society or pet rescue group.