March 2008 Newsletter

March 2008

In this issue:

  • Line of credit extended on public charitable trust
  • Animals continue to be imported from out of state into Marion County
  • $54,000 spent on "Love Them All" ad compaign
  • Door-shutting policy to strays impacts community
  • City and Humane Society sign MOU
  • Nathan Winograd returns to Indianapolis
  • How you can move to ACT

The challenges for the animals, animal service providers and tax payers of Marion County have become even greater in the last several months with the announcement of several concerning events.

On December 13, 2007, the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI) filed a petition to request of the probate court (and was granted) a modification to extend the line of credit on the Mary Powell Crume public charitable trust meant for animals. "The Trustee requests that this Court allow the borrowing limit against the Trust assets be increased to sixty percent (65%) (increased from fifty percent (50%)) of the Trust corpus which will be secured by ninety percent (90%) (same as before) of Trust assets. Order to Modify Line of Credit Arrangement

(As a historical note: several local animal service providers came forward in 2004 in an effort to protect this Trust from the risk that it continues to face as collateral for this line of credit, contrary to the wishes of Mary Crume.)

Despite the overwhelming number of animals in need of homes within our own community, animals continue to be imported into Marion County not only from out of county, but out-of-state. "Starting late last year, the Asheville Humane Society also started a monthly transport of animals to the Indianapolis Humane Society."

In February HSI launched a $54,000 advertising campaign - its biggest in more than five years that has been two years in the making to "get tongues wagging."

With resources so precious we did some math and asked ourselves, "What could $54,000 do for animals if in the hands of other animal welfare organizations?

Based on 2006 filings of IRS form 990's:
SNSI (Spay Neuter Services of IN) could spay/neuter 1,146 animals
ARPO (Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership) could house, provide care and adopt 200 animals
IF (Indy Feral) could TNR (trap/neuter/release) 1,500 cats
FBI (Feral Bureau of IN) could TNR about 2,000 cats (based on preliminary figures for 2007)
SSAS (Southside Animal Shelter) could house, provide care, spay/neuter and adopt 310 animals
ACC (Animal Care and Control) could intake and process 343 animals

In early March it was announced that HSI would end their long established policy of accepting stray animals as well as be placing significant restrictions on accepting owner surrendered animals. This was announced with a curious over-exposure and flurry of timely news articles:

March 1: "Shelter says no to strays,"
March 2: "Indianapolis Humane Society to stop taking in strays"
March 6: "Let's find solutions to keep animals alive," by HSI Director Ms Boden
March 7: "City set to unveil plan to cut euthanizations."
- "Humane Society officials said they have a $200,000 budget shortfall, but Newman (Director of Public Safety) said he examined their records and estimated the shortfall is closer to $1 million".
March 8: "No more dumping Fido, shelters have a better idea"
March 9: ACC and HSI sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
March 10: "Humane Society and Animal Care & Control forge pact."
- "The new collaboration also is reminiscent of how closely the organizations worked together in the past, when the city had a two-year contract, ending in 2002, with the Humane Society. At that time, the Humane Society managed the animal care functions." (Editors note: This information reflects a lack of institutional knowledge and can be misleading. The Humane Society of Indianapolis contracted with the IACC in 2000 to run the city's kennels but that contract was eventually terminated in 2002. The Humane Society fell short in meeting a key goal in the $272,000 contract which was to find homes for more animals. The contract called for the society to come up with a plan to increase adoptions by 30% during the first year. Instead adoptions fell 16%. The numbers increased slightly the next year, but still fell short of the contract goal). We have to wonder why this re-partnering with an agency for a second time when the first partnership proved to be less than successful.

What could this MOU mean to tax payers?

What does this MOU mean for the animals? We can only guess, but it doesn't sound good. Why? Because there is no indication of a plan for the relief of the animals pointed to the city shelter. ALL surrendered and stray dogs and cats (except the most desirable) are to be received by ACC. This means that the ENTIRE population of at-risk animals ("undesirables" - needing the most compassion and care) will overwhelm the limits of staff and facility to be even more marginalized than before the policy change. HSI will selectively choose the most desirable animals from ACC with the greatest market value and take them to the north side location for adoption exposure. Not a bad thing except that all other organizations to which ACC painstakingly arranges to transfers animals, are "guaranteed placement" organizations - meaning that the animals will not be killed.

The MOU means that ACC (and the animals they service) is in need of the community's help more than ever before.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein


On May 3-4, Move to ACT is hosting a No Kill conference by national sheltering leader Nathan Winograd, author of REDEMPTION.
This is a two day event introducing the programs and services that move a community away from the status quo performance of "adopting a few and killing the rest" and toward a No Kill community. (A No Kill community is one in which the only animals dying are those who are irremediably suffering, are sick or injured with a poor prognosis for rehabilitation, and vicious dogs with a poor prognosis.)

1. Contact your City County Councilors. Inform them that there is a cost- effective, proactive/alternative approach to animal management and our city can benefit from this opportunity. Share with them that " ...experience has shown that programs oriented toward preserving life are actually cost-effective and cheaper than ones oriented toward killing" and that... "killing and disposal are revenue-negative and undermine popular support for local government."

2. Contact the HSI CEO Martha Boden and encourage her to attend the No Kill conference. Contact the Humane Society of Indianapolis' Board of Directors and ask them to also attend the Winograd conference. Let them know that the agency's participation in the community-wide No Kill movement could assist in changing the public's perception of the HSI as a self-serving shelter, to one serving the community by serving its animals thereby making strides to live up to the "Humane" name brand. And their participation could bring about real change for the betterment of the animals they serve.

3. Send this newsletter to others on your distribution lists.

4. Please join us at the conference yourself! To learn more and sign up for this event, visit www.old.movetoact.org .

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare." - Japanese Proverb


The Board of Move to Act

Move to Act

phone: (317) 317-641-9300