Meet Our Board
Meagan is the President and Founder of It Takes A Village Animal Rescue & Resources (ITAVARR), as well as the Executive Director of It Takes A Village Spay & Neuter Clinic (ITAVSN) and It Takes A Village Coalition (ITAVC). A life-long animal lover, the creation of this rescue was her heart project. After serving on boards and committees for various other shelters and rescues in Iowa, she decided it was time to bring some of these ideals and services to Muscatine. Along with her husband Casey and their 2 children, Griffin and Isabelle, she created and opened Muscatine’s first no-kill animal welfare organization.
At its inception, ITAVARR was a small foster-based rescue, with just a handful of volunteers. Meagan has grown this organization in unprecedented time to a full-scale shelter operation, providing services locally, as well as nationally, to animals in need. She has an AAS degree in Nursing and calls upon those skills to take on and care for animals with serious medical conditions.
A champion for change, Meagan advocates for animal welfare causes at the local and state level. She was instrumental in getting the discriminatory breed ban lifted in Muscatine, and continues to spearhead efforts to remove bans on TNR activities within the city. Additionally, Meagan is passionate about upending the status quo regarding compensation and treatment of animal welfare professionals. From kennel technicians to veterinarians, she has established business practices that not only provide compensation that reflects the value of the work they do, but also puts quality of life, for both human and animal, at the forefront of their mission. She hopes that by starting here, now, that the landscape can begin to shift universally.
Casey is the Vice President of It Takes A Village Animal Rescue & Resources and Meagan's husband of 15 years. They have 2 children together and he has been Active Duty Navy since July 2006. (Five years attached to a submarine and recruiting for the last 11+ years)
Casey is a "jack of all trades" as he has helped Meagan to build ITAVARR from the ground up. Whether it's building whelping boxes for pregnant mamas, assembling kennels and walls in our brick and mortar shelter, or driving the "Rescue-mobile" 3000 miles in 4 days to assist with Hurricane Ian relief efforts, Casey helps make ITAVARR's life-saving dreams a reality.
Even though Casey is the king of TERRIBLE dad jokes, when it comes to helping to provide a loving and calm presence to new animals, no one does it better. His fearless yet compassionate demeanor is always the secret weapon for animals that are nervous or a little apprehensive. Five minutes with Casey and that animal can tell that its life is about to be changed forever.
As a public speaker for ITAVARR and advocate for the animals, Casey has also been instrumental in spreading our mission and sharing information about our cause with various groups, clubs, and public hearings throughout the community.
Priscilla’s journey with ITAVARR began with fostering. She saw an adorable picture of a pup that needed some luvins circulating Facebook and couldn’t resist. After fostering and assisting where she could, she joined the rescue's board of directors.
She and her husband Scott have five kids; Caden, Corbin, Maddox, Everly and Rylah. She has a soft spot for black dogs and ones with short smooshed snouts.
Priscilla works full-time at a local auto repair shop, helps with her kids' Scout Troop 426 and Cub Scout Pack 3700. She enjoys time with her family, road trip vacations and helping others.
Beth Gomez took over as the Treasurer of It Takes A Village in January of 2022 and has been enjoying every single minute spent in that role since.
Karen Hartman has been involved with It Takes A Village since its inception. She has always been an animal lover and is dedicated to the mission to reduce the homeless pet population through adoption and spay/neuter. Karen leads a busy life with her husband Mike, 4 grown children, 1 son-in-law, 1 granddaughter, 3 furkids and 8 grand-furkids. She enjoys taking the pups (and humans) out for hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. Karen is a teacher in the Muscatine school district and is proud to have ITAVARR alum Sam as a therapy dog in her classroom.
Initiatives And Values
Come when called
Sometimes we’re called to intervene in hoarding cases to remove large numbers of animals from dangerous and neglectful living conditions. Sometimes we’re called to the sites of natural disasters. Since 2021, disaster relief missions have taken us to Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana, where we were able to help shelters in flood and hurricane-stricken areas by evacuating their animals to safety. We refuse to be limited by geography; wherever animals need our help is where we’ll be.
Foster-based rescue to shelter in 72 hours
When the needs of a hoarding situation demanded immediate help and a physical location to house 29 animals, It Takes A Village Animal Rescue & Resources jumped into action to secure licensing, funding, inspections and our very own shelter space in record time. That passion and drive sometimes means sleepless nights for us, but for those 29 animals in desperate need of our help, it meant a safe place to spend their nights. Since then, we’ve expanded the shelter space that is open to the public.
Making Waves: A culture of inclusion and quality of life in the animal welfare industry.
Animal welfare work has historically meant being overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. We’ve experienced this struggle firsthand. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, do better,” and we are. With great wages, a work culture that focuses on quality of life for its employees and a welcoming, diverse team, we’re dedicated to being the change we want to see in the world of animal welfare work.
Path to no kill
Almost one million shelter animals are euthanized every year in the US, a number as staggering as it is devastating. As part of our commitment to increasing live outcomes, we take dogs from high kill shelters who are in immediate danger of being put down due to lack of space and bring them to our facility where they’re lovingly vetted, groomed, cared for and placed into foster homes until we’ve found their perfect fit in a forever family of their own.
Project: Humane Litter Prevention
Our country is in the midst of an animal overpopulation crisis that we can’t adopt our way out of; the only way to prevent animals from being euthanized due to overpopulation is to limit the number being born into homelessness. With that in mind, we’ve had over 300 cats in Muscatine County spayed and neutered. We’re doing our part to end the overpopulation crisis and animal homelessness so that every dog and cat knows what it means to have a loving home.
Giving back to our community
Without the support of our community, our vision could never have become a reality. We are thrilled to give back by creating community outreach events like our annual Village Dog Days of Summer, microchipping and vaccination events and socialization classes. The “resource” part of our name is very important to us; it’s an honor to help Muscatine families keep their pets healthy and happy.
A Call to Action: Village Animal Welfare in Action - Breed bans, TNR, city, county and state legislative movements.
Since our inception in March of 2021, we have worked tirelessly lobbying for change in our city and state government. Pressing for the end of breed bans, stronger accountability for irresponsible pet owners and legalizing humane litter control by means of Trap, Neuter, Return practices. Our commitment to the animals does not stop at adoption. Please consider joining our Village Animal Welfare in Action team to help facilitate much needed change to our city, county and state animal welfare laws.