INDIANAPOLIS — The labor shortage is hitting Indianapolis Animal Care Services extra hard. They're asking the community for help so animals aren't euthanized.
So many dogs are coming in to IACS that cages are on the floor. They are asking for the public's help, not only because they are over capacity, but because they're also short-staffed.
"Even on a good day, we never had enough staff to get the job done, but when you look at us being down about 30% of our animal care staff and 20 animals in crates in the hallways, we just can't continue to do it, and our staff can't continue to give any more than what they're giving," said IACS Deputy Director Katie Trennepohl.
IACS posted on social media this week that all pets are at high risk of being put down.
"We've had to make decisions that we wouldn't have to make if we had more staff and we had more space," Trennepohl said.
The city facility is only accepting animals on an emergency basis.
That's forcing other shelters and employees to step in to help, including Casondra Hood. She is also an animal control officer.
"Just in one run, I brought in 13 animals, just, what, last week? They were under an overpass, and it was below freezing. So, it just depends on the day," Hood said.
Trennepohl said many animals coming in were once a family pet. That's why if you find a cat or dog, the shelter wants you to keep it in the neighborhood where it was lost.
"What we find is when people drive the animal across town and bring them to the shelter, they're very unlikely to be claimed by their owners, and I think the public has a false perception of that," Trennepohl said.
Microchipping and making sure chip information is up to date are just as important.
"A lot of times what we see is that animal has a microchip but the phone number that's associated with it has been disconnected, even though we know that somebody loves this animal," Trennepohl said. "Something has to give, and we don't want animals to lose their lives, so we need the public's help to keep animals out of the shelters in the first place.
IACS is holding a free adoption event Saturday from noon until 5. All animals are spayed and neutered, chipped, their first rounds of shots and a goody bag.
IACS is asking the public to consider volunteering.
"What makes us unique is that the animals that come into the shelter are the animals that really need it. They're the most neglected, the saddest cases, and the ones that can be the most rewarding. When you see that skinny dog put on weight or that scared dog start to come out of its shell, there's nothing like that feeling, and that's what makes our staff come to work every day. And that's what our volunteers do when they come in too," Trennepohl said.
The shelter also looking to hire more animals control officers, care techs and vet assistants. Pay starts at $13.67 per hour. Animal control officers start at $17 per hour. To apply, click here.