Below is a letter to the editor published in the Indianapolis Star on 4/13/12 by John along with leaders in the city’s animal welfare community:
To the Editor:
Indianapolis Animal Care and Control faces tremendous challenges in managing the unwanted pet population. Chief among them is managing the huge volume of unwanted pets (more than 17,000 in 2011) with limited resources amid an economic downturn. Because of this volume, Animal Control has had to humanely euthanize far more animals than anyone would like, about half of the animals dropped off last year.
With limited resources, what steps can Animal Control take to reduce the level of unwanted pets dropped off at the center? How can Animal Control begin to raise revenue that can be used to promote spay and neuter options? The Animal Welfare Alliance, Animal Care and Control leadership, and members of the City-County Council have been meeting to seek answers. One of the ideas generated from these meetings recently was passed unanimously by the council and signed into law by the mayor.
The new law revises the city code to charge a $40 fee to non-Marion County residents who drop off unwanted animals at the Animal Control center (Marion County residents can still drop off for free). Animals from out-of-county residents accounted for 5 percent of drop-offs in 2011 (nearly 900 animals). In fact, the new law simply brings Indianapolis in line with the common practice of charging a “surrender fee” — just like governmental agencies do in surrounding counties. For example, Hamilton County charges a $160 fee for out-of-county drop-offs, and many counties refuse to accept out-of-county animals altogether.
Our hope is that this new fee for out-of-county residents will reduce the volume of animals dropped off at the center and raise revenue, with all proceeds required to be spent on spay and neuter activities. While we are glad this proposal is now law, there is much more to do to ensure that Indianapolis has an Animal Care and Control we can all be proud.
CEO, Humane Society !of Indianapolis
Member, Indianapolis City-County Council
Chief, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control