Sunday, February 27, 2011

Indianapolis Animal Shelter Turns Into A Killing Field

Former Indianapolis Animal Care & Control Advisory Board Chairman Warren Patitz paints a bleak picture of what is taking place every day at Indianapolis' under-funded animal shelter. The shelter last year alone put to death more than 9,000 cats and dogs brought to the shelter,  a staggering 55% of the 16,666 animals sheltered in 2010. Only 10% of the animals brought to the shelter must be euthanized because of irremediable suffering; the rest are put to death because homes cannot be found for them. Patitz cites figures from a recent survey conducted by students at the School of Public & Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, which found the agency that cares for animals is spending about $225.00 per animal to shelter homeless pets.

Patitz is calling on city councilors to find additional funding for the problem-plagued agency. "IACC is chronically underfunded, understaffed and under performing," Patitz says. "There is no full time veterinarian and the HVAC system does not meet Federal Safety Standards as was determined during the privileged time I had as the IACC board chairman." IACC's current annual budget is about $1.8 million. Patitz believes as little as $1 million a year more could make a big difference. "Taxpayer dollars to the tune of millions of dollars can be committed to professional sports and funding corporate projects, but apparently skeleton-budgeting for any agency where employees work in depressing and near-hopeless conditions to kill homeless animals is acceptable," he says.

Patitz is referring to the $33.5 million the Ballard administration found to subsidize the Indiana Pacers, and the city's plan to loan $98 million to a private developer to build the North of South project on the southside of Indianapolis' downtown, in addition to nearly $40 million in direct and indirect government subsidies. Patitz notes another $75,000 to $80,000 a year would allow the agency to employ a veterinarian to address deplorable health problems at the shelter. "Animals comes into the Harding St. building healthy and soon become sick because it is a petri dish of disease," Patitz laments. "It might be worth mindful consideration that dignified attention be given to the staffing constraints and conditions at our municipal shelter that budgets $1.8M/yr of tax payer dollars to kill animals."


Blog Admin said...

Isn't the current animal control dept. head some attorney whose entire experience with animal management might be owning a gold fish?

Big surprise that, over a year after they ousted Mr. Rae, animal control is still a mess. I guess Mr. Rae wasn't part of the problem after all.

Paul K. Ogden said...

The few times I saw Doug Rae discussing animal control I thought he was the best appointment Ballard ever made. I know there are some friends who disagree, but I liked his philosophy and approach to animal welfare. It was nice to have someone as Director who believed that animal control shouldn't primarily be focused on killing the animals.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yeah, I recall one of the beefs Doug's detractors had with him was that he was making it too easy for people to adopt pets. The other side of that equation is the resulting higher number of animal kills when as many adoptions are not occurring.