November 21, 2022

City's animal shelter faces critical level of being understaffed and overcrowded

Indianapolis Animal Care Services is understaffed, and that has forced the shelter to operate on emergency intake status. - Courtesy Indianapolis Animal Care Services

Indianapolis Animal Care Services is understaffed, and that has forced the shelter to operate on emergency intake status.

Courtesy Indianapolis Animal Care Services

Indianapolis Animal Care Services is understaffed, and that has forced the shelter to operate on emergency intake status.

Since February, the shelter has only accepted animals without an appointment in emergency situations, such as if the dog is injured or an immediate danger to the public.

However, deputy director Katie Trennepohl said a lot of people still show up to the shelter expecting to immediately surrender an animal.

“Even though the staff does a good job of explaining to them why that's not in the best interest of the animals, they do get a lot of pushback from the public,” Trennepohl said. “And you know, even before the emergency intake status, they were getting pushback from the public. The tension back there is at an all-time high right now, and a lot of people are frustrated.”

The city is working on increasing staffing.

“We're at crisis level with our staffing right now. We have seven employees filling 21 physicians to care for the animals,” Trennepohl said. “And as a reminder, that is for seven days a week, regardless of holidays. Everybody needs to be taken care of every day. And we have about 330 animals in the building right now.”

Trennepohl said with those staffing levels, depending on the day, they are looking at between 39 percent to 88 percent of the animals that can get the minimum standard of care.

“So that's why, you know, we're stressing to the public that the shelter is not the best place for the majority of animals right now,” she said.

The shelter is asking the public to help by volunteering, fostering or adopting an animal.

Adoptions are free. All shelter animals are microchipped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated.

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at tbennett@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

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