Press Release

Indianapolis sees 65 percent decrease in pet euthanasia in past five years

Indianapolis sees 65 percent decrease in pet euthanasia in past five years and euthanasia down 90 percent since 2000

INDIANAPOLIS — (October 11, 2017) Focused collaboration among Indianapolis’ leading animal welfare organizations has substantially improved the plight of pets in Marion County, reducing euthanasia rates of cats and dogs countywide by nearly 65 percent since 2012, and increasing pet adoptions by 53 percent in the same timeframe.

Since 2012, FACE, Indianapolis Animal Care Services, IndyHumane, Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, FIDO and Southside Animal Shelter Indianapolis have collaborated to lower the number of animals dying in shelters because of overpopulation. With funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, the groups have focused primarily on increasing availability and public awareness of free and low-cost spay/neuter and adoption resources in Marion County, as well as sharing messages about responsible pet ownership.

In 2012, more than 6,600* cats and dogs were euthanized in Indianapolis shelters; in 2016, the number was just over 2,300. Pet adoptions were at just over 6,200 in 2012, and increased to more than 9,500 in 2016. The collaborating organizations’ emphasis on spaying and neutering pets has led to a 17 percent increase in spay/neuter surgeries over the past five years, further reducing unwanted litters of kittens and puppies, which otherwise might be euthanized.

“These improvements are the result of several agencies working together to improve the quality of life for the animals of Indianapolis. Animals entering the shelter today are significantly less likely to be euthanized than ever before,” said Katie Trennepohl, deputy director of Indianapolis Animal Care Services. “Our city has always had great animal welfare groups but we weren’t able to make such incredible progress until we all started working together. By collaborating while allowing each group to specialize in its area of expertise, we are all able to do more for Indianapolis’ animals.”

Other key accomplishments during the past five years include:

  • Seven Mega Adoption Events at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which have facilitated more than 5,000 pet adoptions. (The eighth Mega Adoption Event will be held Oct. 14 – 15, with a goal of finding homes for 1,000 shelter cats and dogs.)
  • The opening of IndyHumane’s Animal Welfare Center in the Haughville neighborhood to offer low-cost vet care and spay/neuter services in one of Indy’s communities most in need of such services.
  • Improvements to the City’s animal care and treatment ordinances, with leadership from FIDO, to provide increased protections for outside dogs, including requirements for shelter, shade and kennel size.
  • The currently underway expansion of FACE’s low-cost vet care facility through its Imagine Capital Campaign to increase clinic space and strengthen program delivery.
  • The creation of a community cat program that uses trap-neuter-return (TNR) to fix, vaccinate and ear-tip neighborhood feral cats to reduce unwanted litters.
  • Increased sales of the Pet Friendly License Plate, the proceeds of which have quadrupled the number of low-cost spay/neuter vouchers offered through Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana.

The significant gains in recent years build upon the steadily improving animal welfare landscape that has been emerging in Indiana for the past 20 years. For instance, in 2000, the worst year on record for Indy’s pet population, 22,000 cats and dogs were killed in Indy area shelters. By the end of 2016, euthanasia rates had dropped nearly 90 percent.

“Through collaboration, we are on track to ending overpopulation in Indianapolis. We are not only addressing the broad-stroke needs of companion animals, like high-volume spay/neuter and adoption, but also creating strategic approaches to individual dogs and cats and their special needs,” said Ellen Robinson, executive director of FACE. “We are celebrating great success, saving thousands of animals’ lives and making Indianapolis a better city to live in, while also being fully aware that forward momentum will only be maintained by constant vigilance.”

“When we improve the welfare of animals, we improve the welfare of our communities,” said Kent Agness, trustee of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. “We take great pride in this partnership and the truly collaborative spirit that exists among all of the participants. We’re making a difference for these animals that rely on all of us.”

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* Statistics provided for the period of January 2012 through December 2016 by participating organizations, which represent the major animal welfare providers and organizations in Indianapolis.

About the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust seeks to help people in need, especially women, children and families; to protect animals and nature; and to enrich community life primarily in metropolitan Phoenix and Indianapolis. The Trust has awarded more than $283 million in grants and student scholarships since its inception in 1997. For more information, visit


Media contact:
Teri Walker
Manager of Communications and External Relations
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
AZ: 480-887-0083 | IN: 317-231-9207