Although Hamilton County is the wealthiest county in the state, animals at the Humane Society for Hamilton County’s facility don’t have access to many services. HSHC Executive Director Rebecca Stevens said even animal control facilities have more services than the HSHC.
“What people have to understand is (our building) is actually missing fundamental areas that even an animal control facility has. Our design today is literally missing an intake area for cats,” Stevens said. “We don’t currently have a medical wing. There are no exercise areas, no storage. There’s no meeting space, no quarantine area for contagious animals.”
However, the animals’ environment may be improved soon because of a $12 million capital campaign to construct a new 40,000-square foot facility at 106th Street and Hague Road in Fishers. The goal is to open the shelter within the next 1,000 days. The current shelter only has 8,000 square feet of space.
Stevens said the larger facility won’t significantly create more kennel space but will provide room for more educational outreach programs and include traditional humane society amenities, such as a medical wing.
“We are not doubling everything. That’s not the solution, to keep adding more cages. The solution is looking at building a facility that’s going to sustain the growth of this county and its needs,” Stevens said.
HSHC hired Shelter Planners for America to consult in designing the new shelter. Noise control is a priority in the new facility, which will have plexiglass instead of barred cages.
“Today, the best way to explain the challenge we have is you have a dog in a kennel with no noise control and no visual barrier between dogs on each side or across from it,” Stevens said. “There is very little disease control. You have an animal come into the shelter and it immediately declines, behaviorally and health-wise.”
With the new facility, HSHC will be able to expand its educational and outreach programs.
“We’ve been unable to expand programs, unable to offer the community what we know they want and what we know we can give,” Stevens said. “This is such a great way for us to be able to plant more seeds in our youth, in the community, of kindness and what it means to be kind to animals and the importance of pet adoption.”
Other programs Stevens wants to expand are the Pets Healing Vets program, where a shelter animal is placed with a veteran, and offer long-term placement for active-duty military who are deployed and have no one to care for their pets.
The HSHC is seeking donations for the new facility. The first $1 million has already been donated by an anonymous donor. For more or to donate, contact Stevens at [email protected].