© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Iowa's Evolving Pet Culture

Markus Winkler

Since the 1970s, spaying and neutering pets has become commonplace and expected for the majority of pet owners.

Bob Barker, the host of “The Price is Right,” started signing off by reminding viewers to help control the pet population -- a message he echoed for decades and changed how we care for our pets.

Adopting dogs, cats and other creatures from shelters or rescues has become more popular. It’s even a badge of honor for some. On the other hand, Iowa’s animal shelters are still overrun with kittens every year. Some areas are hotspots for stray or unwanted pets, and puppy mills are still common in the state. 

Credit Dallas Tuttle / IPR
Charity Nebbe (left) with her guests Sybill Soukup, Mindi Callison, and Tom Colvin (right) inside the IPR studios in Ames, IA.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with Tom Colvin, the CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines. Colvin has been involved with animal welfare work for 45 years. Sybill Soukup, executive director of the Humane Society of North Iowa in Mason City, is also part of the conversation. 

Later, Mindi Callison, executive director and founder of Bailing out Benji, joins the program to talk about puppy mills. According to her organization the state is home to more than 290 puppy mills. Some of these commercial dog breeding operations are characterized by quick breeding and inhumane conditions. 



  • Tom Colvin, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines
  • Sybil Soukup, executive director for the Humane Society of North Iowa
  • Mindi Callison, executive director and founder of Bailing Out Benji



Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa