Budget cuts create grim reality for Marion County animal shelter


INDIANAPOLIS - A fight over money may be the difference between life or death for hundreds of stray animals in Marion County.

Animal Care and Control says it's putting down more than 20 animals a day because it doesn't have the money to keep them. Now it may have to make even deeper budget cuts.

At Animal Care and Control on Harding Street, Robin Kennedy walks the kennel looking for dogs to rescue. She'll take them to a south side shelter to adopt out, but she can only take a few.

"It's hard because you know when you walk past somebody, their chances have gone down," she said.

Kennedy is talking about the animal's chances of leaving the shelter alive. Animal Care and Control is jammed with hundreds unwanted dogs and cats.

"It's a 50-50 chance. He came in as owner surrender or stray," said another volunteer, cuddling a puppy.

Each day workers must make room for more. They must decide who lives and who dies. We shot video of a perfectly healthy dog taking his last walk. He was about to become one of the 22 animals killed on average here each day.

"I don't think citizens realize how dire the situation is," said Amy Frazier, volunteer. She was giving a pat to Rose, a dog who is being treated for kennel cough.

Frazier fears the proposed budget will make it worse, drastically cutting the amount spent on spaying/neutering and medical care.

"Without money for medicine, dogs like this will be routinely taken down the hall into euthanasia room," said Frazier.

Animal advocates are also stunned that the shelter administrator had no say in the budget.

"I can't imagine any company not having their executive director have some input," said Kennedy.

"The ramification could be more animals will be put down. The ramification could be more animals will be on the street," said John Aleshire, Humane Society.

Aleshire says even if the $200,000 is restored, the city needs to do more to address unwanted pets.

"We cannot continue to adopt our way out of this program. The long-term solution for this city is targeted, low-cost spay and neuter services," he said.

Robin Kennedy, meantime, will keep trying to save a few pets each day, knowing fully that most here will not make it out alive.

If you want to weigh in on the budget cuts, the Public Safety Committee is meeting at 5:30 pm Wednesday (Sept. 14th) at the City-County Building.

See animals available for adoption at Marion County Animal Care and Control