We Hoosiers love our pets dearly, and we often can’t imagine how animals could be unwanted, or worse, mistreated, by the people around us. Unfortunately though, there are plenty of abused and neglected animals that simply don’t have suitable homes. Add in the fact that not everyone spays or neuters their pets to avoid unwanted kittens or puppies, and it’s not hard to imagine that there is a large population of homeless animals in and around Indianapolis. Thankfully, the Circle City is home to some fine animal shelters and rescue organizations whose mission it is to house and care for such unlucky pets until permanent homes can be found for them. Here, then, is a guide to some of the best animal shelters in Indianapolis.
Humane Society of Indianapolis
The Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI), like chapters of the Society across the nation, provides a full range of direct services for cats and dogs, ranging from adoption and foster home placement to behavioral training and medical care. In helping over 3500 cats and dogs a year, the Humane Society of Indianapolis is a haven for many pets that might have otherwise languished on the streets or met unfortunate ends. The HSI is always looking for monetary donations, and they also maintain a shelter wish list of items that are needed to better the lives of shelter animals. The Society also has a wide range of volunteer programs, inviting people from all walks of life to become actively involved in alleviating the problem of homeless and abused pets.
Southside Animal Shelter
The Southside Animal Shelter strives to do everything possible to save healthy dogs and cats from euthanasia. This shelter has an interesting history, as it was founded by Rosie Ellis, an Indianapolis resident who began caring for stray animals at her home in 1987. As the number of Rosie’s “adopted” strays grew, she and her husband purchased an old factory to make housing the animals a more reasonable undertaking. By 1995, Rosie realized that she had a full-blown organization that could benefit from establishing non-profit status, and the Southside Animal Shelter was founded. Today, the Shelter remains one of the few “Limited Admission” shelters in the area, screening incoming animals to make sure that they are physically viable. Once that challenge has been met, an animal may stay at the Southside Animal Shelter indefinitely, without fear of euthanasia, until a permanent home is found. As with other shelters, the Southside facility is highly dependent on donations and adoption fees for its own survival.
As the name implies, Cats Haven is a cats-only shelter that typically houses around 200 stray cats or older cats that can no longer be cared for by their owners. Cats Haven is a no-kill shelter, so they do have a limited capacity to accept new animals. As with other shelters, Cats Haven is happy to accept monetary and wish-list donations, and they also welcome volunteers to help care for their feline friends.
From the Heart Rescue
From the Heart Rescue, in nearby Westfield, is a no-kill shelter serving the needs of both cats and dogs. They also provide adoption services for families seeking new pets, and all of their adopted pets must receive a clean bill of health before going to a new home. From the Heart relies heavily on volunteers to care for their animals, and monetary donations help make it possible for them to provide their services. More information about volunteering or making a donation can be found at their web site.
IndyFeral is a unique player on the Indianapolis animal shelter landscape. Their Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program is aimed at actively identifying and humanely trapping stray and wild cats, and then rehabilitating them to the greatest extent possible. This includes sterilization, eartipping, and vaccination. Whenever feasible, these captured animals are then adopted to suitable homes. When adoption is not a possibility, the cats are returned to their “familiar habitat”. IndyFeral relies on its volunteers for both the trapping and maintenance of their “colonies” which are the long-term care facilities that house cats awaiting adoption.
Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership
The Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership (ARPO), located in Fishers, may be viewed as something of a distributed shelter, as this organization relies completely on its volunteer foster homes to house and care for any animals that they take into their system. One reason that the ARPO uses this model is because they are committed to having pets live in committed homes rather than in shelters. As a consequence, they also place a priority on conducting home visits prior to completing any adoption process. In this way, ARPO gives adopted animals AND their adoptive families the best chance possible of forming lasting, satisfying owner-pet relationships. The ARPO accepts monetary donations and maintains a wish-list, as well as offering myriad opportunities for volunteers, from transporting animals to providing foster homes for pets accepted into the ARPO system.
Whether you are looking for a new pet, have found an abandoned animal that needs care that you cannot provide, or would like to volunteer to help downtrodden pets, one of these wonderful organizations may be just the place that you need to visit. They are among the very best animal shelters in Indianapolis.