Local animal shelters face overcrowding

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Animal shelters across Central Indiana are near capacity, or at capacity. Indianapolis Animal Care and Control says the warm weather generally means an increase of animals at the shelter.

Rosie Ellis founded the Southside Animal Shelter 19 years ago, and she says the no-kill shelter is almost always full–especially in the spring and summer seasons. Ellis is already seeing more puppies come into the shelter this year than last.

“We had a really hard winter here and now spring is coming and it just seems like there’s a lot of animals out there that don’t have homes,” said Ellis.

Ellis even has to turn some animals away, because there is no room at the shelter.

“We always have to turn people away and they say, ‘You’re a shelter, why aren’t you taking it?” Well I’m sorry, I can’t take it because I’m full right now,” said Ellis.

Ellis believes the over-crowding problem in Indiana is a problem that could be solved, in part by making spay-neuter care more accessible and affordable.

“If a dog or cat is running loose in the streets of Indianapolis, and is picked up by Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, and then the owner comes in and claims it–I think they should be made to spay or neuter that pet,” said Ellis.

Ellis said if more people spayed or neutered their animals, there would be fewer homeless animals. For four years, animal-lovers have pushed for legislation to make spay-neuter care more accessible and affordable.

“There’s no question we need to do more spay-neuter here in Indianapolis,” said Ellen Robinson, FACE Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic executive director.

The FACE clinic already provides funding for animal care in high-risk zip codes. But Robinson says they can’t do it alone.

“We need more care and better resources for legislation and ordinances that accelerate spay-neuter but also provide support for people who can’t afford to get it done,” said Robinson.

“People don’t realize when they don’t spay and neuter what they’re doing. They’re causing a lot of problems,” said Ellis.

The increase in animals can cause problems like packed shelters, stretched resources and at city shelters, dogs could eventually get put down.

Ellis and Robinson both say more spay-neuter funding could be the first step toward a bigger goal of becoming a no-kill state.

“We feel confident that Indianapolis can be no-kill by 2017, but we have to keep working on the impediments to spay neuter,” said Robinson.

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