Recently we learned that the Humane Society of Indianapolis made arrangements to import puppies from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. While we certainly support saving puppies from kill shelters, our question is: Why is HSI going out of state to import puppies when animals are daily facing death right here in central Indiana?
The Humane Society of Hamilton County, which has worked hard to maintain a no-kill status, recently issued an urgent plea for help to alleviate severe overcrowding that might force them to do what they least want to do — kill for space. Pleas for “Help: Urgent” come almost daily from Indianapolis Animal Care & Control. Many shelters in surrounding counties have high kill rates. The need for protecting sheltered animals is great right here in central Indiana!
HSI is aware of this. Its website even warns of the conditions at IACC:
IACC. . . took in 17,741 animals in 2010. 8,879 were killed primarily due to lack of space. That means 24 animals lose their lives 365 days per year. *
People seeking a safe place to surrender a pet find that HSI requires an appointment, which may not be available for weeks:
You will need to call for an appointment, for both strays and owner-surrenders. We know there are many more animals in need than we can take in. We are often booked several weeks in advance. Some people have had to wait more than a month for an appointment. Please do everything you can during the wait to find a home for your pet yourself, or modify your lifestyle so that you are able to keep your pet. We’re sorry, but due to limited financial resources we can’t help further. We don’t receive any funds from HSUS or ASPCA. All donations are local.
Is it not reasonable to wonder, if the agency is too full to take in a pet from central Indiana, how it has room to import out-of-state puppies that will require vaccines, spaying/neutering and/or other veterinary care before they can be adopted?
Focusing on helping local animals
Animal rescue organizations in central Indiana are working overtime to interrupt population-control killing and increase the live-release rate of animals from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. Some have sophisticated transport networks to move animals (who would otherwise be killed for space) out of Marion County, even out of state.
While it is true that HSI does not receive funds from HSUS or ASPCA, it is endowed with MILLIONS in local corporate donations, a trust, and highly visible and successful (and costly) fundraising activities. How wonderful it would be for the animals if the popular and well-funded HSI would reach out to LOCAL shelters, relieving them at times of acute population overcrowding — instead of importing more animals from out of state.
So what happened to the Kentucky puppies? When the imported pups began exhibiting signs of an inconvenient, but treatable, skin condition shortly after their arrival, HSI asked the Kentucky shelter to take them back. That did not happen. A local all-volunteer rescue organization, well known for its commitment to treating animals with health challenges, extended the offer to help. HSI declined the offer.
What really happened to these puppies?
What justifies seeking out animals from another state instead of responding to the need close to home?
Move to ACT does NOT oppose getting animals out of high-kill shelters. We do know that as the rescue community labors toward the realization of “No Kill”, “Target Zero”, (or whatever name one wants to assign to not killing treatable and adoptable animals for space), that the welfare of those that are dying here at home should take precedence over making money from more desirable dogs from out of state.
* IACC took in 15,608 animals in 2012 and 8,411 animals in the first six months of 2013.