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Furry Friends Refuge is a nonprofit humane organization serving the animals of central Iowa. Furry Friends is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible organization and has created the first no-kill community in the Des Moines metro area. Until July 1, 2023, Furry Friends provided open admission services to pets in need for West Des Moines, Clive, and Urbandale. Furry Friends continues to serve all animal welfare needs for animals in Clive and Urbandale. We are currently assisting area shelters who are open admission and at or beyond capacity due to the current sheltering crisis being seen in Iowa and nationwide. Once we are able to provide sufficient support to stabilize those populations, we will expand our target jurisdictions to other neighboring communities who share our vision of building humane communities with a safety net for all animals in need. West Des Moines decided to terminate its partnership with Furry Friends as of July 2023 against the wishes of many citizens. Please contact the city manager Tom Hadden at if you have a pet in West Des Moines who no longer has anywhere to go because of the city’s decision or if you are left waiting for hours or days with a stray animal due to the appointment only system for accepting stray animals the city has implemented in its new city run and taxpayer funded program.

Furry Friends seeks to assist all area animals in need through a variety of programs including adoptions, spay and neuter, community outreach, and humane education. Additionally, the organization has partnered with Polk County Animal Control to provide housing, reunification, and adoption programs for stray animals in Clive and Urbandale.

Furry Friends relies heavily on volunteers, and all donations go directly to the programs that serve the animals.

Our mission

We are compassionate people who care about animals and promote animal welfare through education and celebration of the human/animal bond. We work to combat animal mistreatment and insist on humane treatment for all animals.

Our programs


Adoptions: Place animals brought into organization in new homes, provide assistance to find the best animal for a family, provide follow-up behavior assistance. Provide excellent customer care to adopters, encouraging more families to choose adoption to acquire their new pet.

Animal control: Take in, house, and seek original owners for animals who were found by Polk County Animal Control officers. Provide active efforts to identify potential owners and reunite pets with their owners. Place any unclaimed animals up for adoption.

Community outreach: Provide speakers to organizations, schools, and other community outlets about responsible animal care and other animal-related topics. Use our pet therapy program to visit hospitals, hospice homes, and nursing homes with animals at request. Reach out to schools and provide seminars and assemblies promoting compassion. Provide free advice for pet owners struggling with behavior problems.

wyatt - dog on donation jar 2017

Animal cruelty: Assist in educating community about animal cruelty and provide advice to citizens witnessing cruelty. Follow local animal cruelty cases and work with prosecutors to ensure tough penalties and psychological treatment. Provide expert advice to law enforcement and prosecutors regarding both civil and criminal components of animal cruelty cases. Work to rehabilitate victims of abuse and neglect and use cases to bring the issue of animal cruelty to the forefront of the community.

Volunteer and junior volunteer: Train volunteers in the community to assist in making all other programs successful. Focus on connecting people with what they like to do and provide a positive social outlet. Encourage children to become active and responsible citizens by providing age-appropriate activities and tasks.

Spay and neuter: Provide affordable spay and neuter services to the public otherwise unlikely or unable to utilize private vets to have their pet sterilized. Provide services for other animal lovers to spay and neuter unclaimed strays, barn cats, and alley cats. Ensure that the program is sustainable independent of grant funding to have a long-term impact on the community.