September 11, 2023

A new grant will help funding gap for Indianapolis animal shelter

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced additional funding for a new shelter last year. - (Photo: City of Indianapolis)

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced additional funding for a new shelter last year.

(Photo: City of Indianapolis)

An additional $1 million in funding for a new animal shelter in Indianapolis will come from a grant to Friends of Indy Animals.

The current Indianapolis Animal Care Services, or IACS, facility opened on the city’s southwest side in 1991. The low profile, concrete building is only set up to house about 160 animals.

Friends of Indy Animals Executive Director Becky Honeywell says there’s a critical need to support the work of IACS to help homeless animals.

“There is always…. always overcrowding, always an influx, and I would say in addition to that costs for services are rising,” Honeywell said.

The city announced a new shelter would be built in early 2021 and committed $18 million dollars from the Circle City Forward initiative. Since then, the costs have gone up.

The site for the new facility will be in Sherman Park, a near eastside neighborhood targeted for redevelopment but plagued by environmental misuse. The cost of remediation is now expected to be an additional $5 million, on top of $5 million already invested. 

More money for construction of the facility may also be needed.

The Friends of Indy Animals $1 million dollar gift from Lilly Endowment, Inc. will support the IACS building construction. The nonprofit works alongside IACS to provide added support for programs, services, food and medical care. One program gives aid to families to help them keep their pets.

Honeywell said IACS staff deserves better resources to help animals.

“Despite a crumbling building that is really not designed for animal welfare, they do amazing work,” Honeywell said.

The construction timeline was originally optimistic, and shot for a 2022 start. Today construction is on hold, as well as building design plans, as the city works to determine exactly how much more funding is needed. 

Last year, the city announced an additional $3 million gift from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to help build the site. Even with this latest gift, a funding gap remains.

Friends of Indy Animals will launch a campaign to help with more financing. The city may also allocate additional funding for the project through the council.

IACS helps nearly 10,000 animals a year.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at

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