Tough time for pets

Dateline: Thu 08 Jul 2010



Humane Society of Indianapolis reaches limit of animals it can care for with current resources.


IndyHumane’s budget and staff stretched to capacity as shelter cares for more animals than ever.



INDIANAPOLIS (July 7, 2010) – The Humane Society of Indianapolis (IndyHumane), currently caring for more than 500 kittens, puppies and mature cats and dogs, has reached the limit of the number of animals it can care for with its current financial and staffing resources and is asking the public for support of its mission, services and animals.

IndyHumane has a balanced budget for 2010 that allows it to care for 300 animals at any given time. Due to the dramatic increase in the number of homeless and unwanted animals in the Indianapolis area in recent months, though, the shelter is currently caring for 550 cats and dogs and must take measures to reduce the intake of more animals.

The Humane Society of Indianapolis typically asks people who wish to surrender pets and strays to call for an appointment to bring cats and dogs to the shelter. This allows staff to ensure proper care and adequate space for every animal that comes in. However, due to the large number of animals currently in the shelter’s care and its limited resources, it cannot currently take walk-in owner surrenders. The shelter’s schedule for people wishing to surrender animals is full until the first week of August, and appointments from then on will be scheduled as resources become available.

The Indy-based and independent shelter does not euthanize for space or time. It currently has 150 animals available for adoption, with a total of 400 living at the 7929 N. Michigan Road facility and 150 more in foster homes. Though IndyHumane invests, on average, $600 in medical, behavioral and shelter services per animal, regular adoption fees remain low: $35 for some cats, and $150 at the highest, for puppies.

“An army of 250 animal lovers sponsoring an animal for $600 each will help us alleviate financial strains, though any gift will help the animals and our mission,” said John Aleshire, Humane Society of Indianapolis CEO.

The current situation reflects general economic circumstances, as well as a recently updated mission and change of culture. The Humane Society of Indianapolis revised its mission in 2009 to better reflect new life-saving initiatives and an increased focus on public services, in addition to its traditional pet-adoption programs. In 2009, the shelter saved the lives of 85% of incoming stray and surrendered animals – 30% more than in 2008. IndyHumane also works with other local animal-welfare groups to save more animals, though these groups have experienced similar pressures, according to Christine Jeschke, Humane Society of Indianapolis Director of Operations. “We’re contacted daily with pleas from local rescues and shelters asking us to help their animals. It breaks my heart to have to turn them away.”

The shelter’s leadership recognizes that its current life-saving programs rely on donor support and the efforts of a small staff. “As hard as we are striving to be one of the nation’s premier animal shelters, we also have to be fiscally responsible and live within our means,” said Aleshire. “That has not always been the case in years past. We’re now a very lean and frugal organization. We’re caring for more animals than we ever have with much less staff than two years ago, and they continue to find ways to make every dollar stretch and be used responsibly.”

Larger economic concerns have impacted the non-profit. The shelter’s intake area has seen more people than ever surrender their pets due to financial difficulties, as people have lost their jobs or their homes and have had to focus greater resources on caring for their families. Other financial concerns have affected the shelter as well. IndyHumane’s veterinary team has seen the price of an antibiotic used daily to save the lives of kittens with severe eye infections skyrocket from $2 to nearly $20.

“When people tour IndyHumane, they are always moved by the scope and depth of our services,” Aleshire said. “I invite any member of the community to contact us and arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour to see all of our services in action. They’ll see that the overwhelming need in our community far surpasses our resources, and that their charitable contributions and support are used wisely.”

Aleshire says that the public can help the animals in IndyHumane’s care by lending financial support, by donating items found on the organization’s wish list, or by utilizing a number of IndyHumane’s services, including a recently opened low-cost vaccine clinic. To sponsor an animal’s care, call the Humane Society of Indianapolis at 317-872-5650 ext. 125. For more information, visit




Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I have 3 rescued dogs. In many cases an adult rescued animal makes a much better pet than a puppy. Rescues bring some baggage with them, but they usually are housebroken, and grateful. (Our little Lab/Chow mix was found in a snowbank with a bullet wound to her neck, and she won't let me out of her sight now; our English Mastiff was an escapee from a puppymill and now spends hours thumping her tail on the floor in contentment; and my Aussie Sheherd mutt was the product of a downsized home and still can't believe she can run free at our farm and doesn't spend her day chained outside. It is costly and time consuming to have these companions, but we don't regret it for a minute.)

If you want to be welcomed at the Rainbow Bridge, you should step up and rescue a canine or feline companion. It's not about you, it's about the animals, and every dog and cat deserves a loving home.

2010-07-08 11:26:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I'm a rescuer, too. Dogs and cats. I've donated to the Humane Society, and volunteered.

Let's just say, in the past, there has been a HUGE gpa between the executive office and the kennels.

2010-07-09 09:27:24

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

I am disgusted to read about the skyrocketing cost of antibiotics that could help kittens.

2010-07-11 00:52:54

Crossed Wires [unverified] said:

I am a rescuer too. 2 dogs and 2 cats. Would be interesting to see their finaincial numbers analyzed, possible too top heavy in administration? Is this just a plea for more contributions even though they have a substantil endowment that they never mention and most don't knwo about. I have more faith in FACE.

2010-07-11 09:58:07

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I see most people stay away from commenting on this string bcause it discomfits them.

Dogs and cats are not their pervue.
Let the critturs disappear on someone else's watch.

2010-07-11 21:48:16

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