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As Hamilton County grapples with animal overpopulation, shelter asks you to fill your heart not cart

Shelter pulls unwanted pets from Indianapolis
Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-23 08:58:41-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Central Indiana has a huge problem with unwanted dogs and cats and the problem is not just confined to Marion County.

Hamilton County is also grappling with an animal overpopulation problem, and they’re trying a unique way to find animals a home for the holidays.

On Black Friday, the Humane Society of Hamilton County is holding an adoption special from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. which includes $5 adoptions for adult pets and $20 for kittens under the age of 6 months.

"We are hoping people will choose to stand in line here instead of at the mall," Rebecca Stevens, president and CEO at the Humane Society of Hamilton County, said.

The shelter, located at 1721 Pleasant St. in Noblesville, can comfortably fit about 250 animals but they currently have 300 in their care.

"The reality is what we need is space," Stevens said. "We need to open cages and kennels, and the only way to do that is through adoptions."

Hamilton County is not alone.

READ | Indianapolis animal overpopulation problem strains resources, workers

Call 6 Investigates told you earlier this month about Indianapolis Animal Care Services—their shelter is so overcapacity, they’re using temporary cages and they’ve euthanized hundreds of adoptable animals for behavioral reasons.

In addition to caring for animals from Hamilton County, the Humane Society also helps Indianapolis by pulling dogs and cats out of the city shelter — often taking the ones no one wants, including the sick and old, like a 10-year-old beagle named Mia than came from IACS with ear infections.

"When you come out and adopt from us, you're opening up cages not just for Hamilton County animals but you're opening up the cages for the ones who are at the greatest risk for euthanasia in Indianapolis and other area shelters," Stevens said.

In our investigation, Call 6 Investigates showed pet owners lining up to surrender animals in Marion County—mostly for financial reasons.

Stevens sees the same thing in Hamilton County. 

"This is an owner surrender," Stevens said as she pointed to a dog surrendered by his owner the day before Thanksgiving.

Stevens said things have changed, and not in a good way.

"This is a lack of commitment,” she said. "This is a shift in how folks feel about their responsibilities to their pets and that this a lifetime commitment when you take them home."

So, this Black Friday, if you’re looking to add a furrever member to your family, consider filling your heart not your cart.

Each adoption comes with a spay/neuter, at least one round of vaccines, microchip & registration, free wellness exam with a participating veterinarian, bag of food, and a lifetime of unconditional love.

If you can’t adopt, you can help the animal overpopulation in other ways:  donate money to a shelter, foster an animal, volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter, and spay/neuter your animals.

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