Animal Advocates Blast Shelter's Euthanasia Rates, Policies

More Hendricks Co. Animals Killed Than Adopted, Advocates Say

Animal advocates are raising concerns about the Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter, saying too many animals are being killed and that the shelter does not do enough to adopt out animals.

Carolyn Slaughter, a member of the advocacy group Allies For All Animals, said the allegations surrounding the shelter make her uncomfortable.

"I'm embarrassed by the shelter," Slaughter said.

Of the 1,770 animals that came into the shelter in 2011, 61 percent were euthanized, and 371 animals were adopted out, according to numbers provided to Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney on Monday by Chief Animal Control Officer Mary Anne Lewis.

"That's a lot of animals being killed for no reason," said Sheryl Sackett, a member of Allies For All Animals.

Lewis was unable to provide full shelter statistic reports for 2010 and 2011, but said many of the pets that are euthanized are requested by the pets' owners.

Kenney made an appointment to speak with Lewis on Monday afternoon, but when Kenney arrived, Lewis said she did not want to go on camera.

Animal advocates told RTV6 the Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter does not do enough adoption events and does offer convenient hours.

The shelter is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and the first and third Saturday of every month 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"Their hours of operation are not conducive to the working public of this county," said Slaughter, who said most other shelters are open all Saturdays and some are open on Sundays.

"I would like to make the shelter more community-focused," Sackett said.

At an advisory meeting scheduled on Tuesday, Allies For All Animals will present a proposal to keep the shelter open all Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week, closing on Wednesday.

"We’re not asking them for more hours, we're just asking them to be more conducive to the taxpaying citizens in Hendricks County," Slaughter said.

Animal advocates also questioned why the shelter doesn't name the animals, why they have no foster care program, and why the animals aren't allowed outside.

"It's just not very warm and friendly," Sackett said.

Off camera, Lewis told RTV6 the facility is clean, the animals are healthy, and that their budget has been cut from $326,876 in 2010 to $280,751 in 2011 and 2012.

Lewis said they are working to boost adoptions by considering lowering fees for rescue groups and adding adoption events.

As for why the animals aren't allowed outside, Lewis said they do not have a fenced area to let them out, and the doors to outdoor cages are unsafe and not working properly.

Lewis said on a typical Saturday, they only see about eight families, so it's unclear whether adding weekend hours would have an affect on adoption numbers.

As for why the shelter does not give animals names, Lewis told Kenney it's too stressful on the staff when euthanizing the animal, plus most families rename the animal anyway.

Lewis said the shelter does not enjoy euthanizing animals, and they are working to improve their numbers.

Animal advocates say the shelter’s efforts are not good enough.

"The taxpayers are the ones paying their salaries, paying for the building, the vans, we pay for everything. I don't understand why it's not more community friendly," Sackett said.

The Hendricks County Animal Control Advisory Group meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on June 5.

The meeting will be held at the Government Center in Danville.

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