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Indianapolis animal shelter changing phone, surrender system to reduce long wait times

Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 17:58:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Animal Care Services is making changes to its phone system and surrender process months amid concerns about long wait times.

The changes come months after Call 6 Investigates raised questions about the city’s backlog of care and treatment calls from the community.

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Care and treatment calls typically come through the mayor’s action center or the police non-emergency line.

IACS spokeswoman Brandi Pahl said the agency has reduced the backlog from 800 in September 2018 to 450 calls in June 2019.

IACS also implemented changes to the shelter’s main line and phone system in an effort to make it easier for the public to get answers to questions when they call the shelter, Pahl said Wednesday.

In most cases, the caller will have the ability to leave a voicemail for shelter staff and voicemails will generally be returned within 24 hours.

“We do ask that callers listen to each option before selecting an extension to ensure your message gets to the correct staff member and is answered in a timely manner,” said Pahl.

IACS also added an option for pet owners to make an appointment to surrender an animal.

Call 6 Investigates reported in November about how the city relies on volunteers with Indy CARES to help pet owners at the back door that are looking to surrender.

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At times, IACS takes in 100 animals a day.

“Along with setting up an appointment, owners will also be provided information about local resources to help keep the animal in the home or to help re-home the animal through family or friends,” said Katie Trennepohl, IACS Deputy Director. “Our hope is not only keep animals from ending up at the shelter, but if animals do need to come here, an appointment will help us plan for space and reduce the wait time for the owner who is surrendering the animal.”

IACS says appointments are not required, but are strongly encouraged.

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IACS is trying to whittle down that backlog by using animal welfare groups like Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside to help respond to those calls.

They also added at least four animal control officer positions in 2019, which they hope will drastically improve the backlog of calls and reduce animal abuse and neglect.

FIDO says if you can’t get a response from IACS or the Mayor’s Action Center, you can call them at 317-221-1314.