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Tom Colvin, Hands On Lobbyist

Working for strong humane laws


  • Although he's holding a cute little white dog here, Tom Colvin started a special club for people who adopted black dogs from shelters.

Dedicating his life to working for animals has made Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc., one of the state’s best known and most widely respected humane advocates.


For the past 35 years, Tom has served as the director of animal shelters, first in Cedar Falls and for the past 16 years in Des Moines.  His ‘first in state’ innovations for animal welfare include training local prison inmates to provide temporary care and rehabilitation for abused and neglected horses; satellite adoption centers around the city; a barn buddy program for farm animals; special cat adoption programs; and a Black Dog Club for those who adopt black dogs from shelters.


Colvin works tirelessly on various committees and boards related to animal issues in Iowa, and on lobbying for animal welfare legislation. He believes that helping hundreds of shelter dogs and cats is important but working to protect animals through strong humane laws brings lifelong change for untold thousands. 


The group has earned a reputation among animal professionals and animal shelters throughout the state and Midwest as a dedicated and steadfast partner in helping animals of all species.  A consummate and unflappable diplomat, Colvin is the go-to  person if you need help with any problem or situation, no matter how unusual. 


Together, the Animal Rescue League and The HSUS have worked to help pass a raft of state legislation from felony animal fighting to felony animal torture. Iowa is the nation’s third largest puppy mill state. On Feb. 17, a bill to crack down on the mass breeding operations passed out of the state House and is now on its way to the Senate (SF2233).


Whether a dog, cat, horse, rabbit or any other species, animals in Iowa are certainly lucky to have this advocate on their side tirelessly working for them every day to ensure they can have a better life. 


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