Terre Haute and Vigo County, IN

Vigo County (population 108,000) is located in Indiana, on the border between Indiana and Illinois. The county seat is Terre Haute, a city of 61,000 people.

The Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) contracts with Vigo County and the city of Terre Haute for animal sheltering for strays, and it also takes in in owner surrenders.  The shelter is part of the Vigo County Animal Coalition, a group of organizations that includes the City of Terre Haute Animal Control, Vigo County Animal Control, and local rescues. THHS is currently fundraising for a new shelter.

THHS does not post full statistics on its website, but it does post “incoming,” “saved,” and “euthanasia rate” figures on its home page, currently covering the years 2000 to 2011. These figures show a 90% or above “saved” rate for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. THHS posts “incoming” and “euthanasia” rates for 2012 and 2013, listing the euthanasia rate as 1.6% for 2012 and 2.8% for 2013. Intake was 2202 for 2012 and 2375 for 2013.

Vigo County is counted in the Running Totals as a 90%+ community

Brown County, IN

Brown County, Indiana, has a population of about 15,000 people. The Brown County Humane Society (BCHS), located in Nashville, Indiana, is a private shelter that contracts with Brown County to take in strays. The shelter states on its website that it “accepts any and all of Brown County’s homeless dogs and cats.” Their euthanasia policy is stated as follows: “Currently only those dogs whose behavior is dangerous and beyond our resources to rehabilitate and pets which are so sick or injured that we cannot afford to treat are euthanized.”

The shelter has a high intake, although it has been trending down substantially in recent years. In 2011, for example, the shelter reported that it took in 1096 dogs and cats. That translates to an intake of 73 animals per 1,000 people. (There are various estimates of average annual shelter intake in the United States, ranging from 15 to 30 per 1000 population). In 2013, the intake was 727 cats and dogs, which is 48 per 1000 people. This report, from the 2011 Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference, details how BCHS has worked to lower intake through their spay-neuter programs.

BCHS’s live release rates for the last three years were 97% in 2011, 99% in 2012, and 98% in 2013. The 2011 figure includes animals who died in shelter care with the euthanasia total. The shelter reported deaths and euthanasias separately in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 the live release rate was 97% with deaths included, and in 2013 it was 95% with deaths included.

The shelter adopted out 839 dogs and cats in 2011, 757 in 2012, and 511 in 2013. I spoke with Jane Weatherford, a member of the shelter’s board of directors, in 2012 and asked how the shelter managed to adopt out so many animals in a community of only 15,000 people. She said that shelter volunteers supplement local adoptions by taking dogs and cats to off-site adoption venues. They placed 233 animals that way in 2011.

BCHS, like most successful shelters, uses social media. Its Facebook page features interesting photographs and appealing descriptions of pets up for adoption as well those who have been recently adopted.

Brown County, Indiana, was originally listed by this blog on April 15, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

Hamilton County, IN

Hamilton County is located in the middle of Indiana, north of Indianapolis. It has a population of about 275,000 people, and is one of the most rapidly growing counties in the United States. The Humane Society for Hamilton County (HSHC) is a private organization that contracts to provide animal sheltering services for the county. The contract includes animal sheltering services for the municipalities of Fishers (population 77,000), Carmel (79,000), Noblesville (52,000), and Westfield (30,000 ).

The shelter takes in owner surrenders from residents of its service area. It asks owners to call first. There is no charge for surrenders from the shelter’s jurisdiction, but residents of the municipalities in the county that do not contract with HSHC must pay a fee for surrenders.

HSHC posted partial statistics for 2011 in a newsletter that is no longer online. Those statistics showed an intake of 3461 animals in 2011, with 501 animals already on hand. 145 of those animals died in shelter care or were euthanized during the year, and the shelter placed 3700 animals. The live release rate was 96% for the year calculated as the inverse of 145 divided by 3461. I could not locate full 2012 statistics posted online, but HSHC reports a 90.3% live release rate for 2012, calculated as live releases divided by total intake. They report that total intake for 2012 was 3220.

HSHC’s website documents their programs for pit-bull adoptions, spay-neuter assistance, and pet retention, as well as foster and volunteer outreach. Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats is provided by an independent low-cost spay-neuter clinic located next to the shelter.

Hamilton County is counted in the Running Totals as a 90%+ community.