Indy begins planning for new East Side Animal Care Services site


INDIANAPOLIS – The old RCA factory, where residents of the east side made a good living building TVs for decades, was first abandoned, then a horror, then demolished and now the property is a wasteland.

But in two years, that site is expected to house the new Indianapolis Animal Care facility.

“They should be building something there,” said Sherry Dugan with her dog Bailey May on her porch within sight of the proposed facility. “Everything is better than a vacant lot. “

And, said Katie Trennepohl, deputy director of animal care services, just about everything is better than the current facility in the 2600 block of South Harding Street.

“This building is breaking down,” she said. “The mechanical systems, the plumbing systems, the HVAC are just ongoing issues and the City continues to invest money in this building, but we are just trying to keep our heads above water.

A contract was signed at the end of July with KRM Architecture + to design the construction of the new facility with a total price not exceeding $ 26.4 million.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that we’re not looking to build another shelter like this,” Trennepohl said. “We want to be a resource center for the community and we want to support pet owners so they can keep their pets and never have to enter the shelter in the first place.”

Each year, 15,000 animals are housed in the current shelter with an adoption rate of 90%.

Trennepohl hopes the new building will increase this number.

“We will have more visitation rooms inside so that people can meet animals inside compared to now we have people who meet outside regardless of the weather,” he said. she declared.

When the current building was designed in the 1980s, Indianapolis’ philosophy was to euthanize instead of adopt with no more than 200 animals finding new homes.

“It was not designed with humane animal housing in mind,” Trennepohl said. “The animals are all facing each other, which is very stressful for them. The cats are housed right in front of the dogs, which is very stressful for a cat. We do not have a designated space to house exotic animals like rabbits which are currently housed in a small closet-like room.

“The animals will have double-sided kennels so that they can get out of sight of other animals so it will be easier for the staff to clean, everyone will have a view to the outside and then easy access to get out. because a dog is a happy dog, “she said.” A lot of the design we’re talking about is moving the animals around the building faster and housing them in a more humane way, because if they are more comfortable here, they will be more adoptable, which means a shorter stay, and we will be able to help more animals.

The City also hopes to help with the redevelopment of Sherman Park near the intersection of East Michigan and Lasalle streets where the new facility will be built.

“We are creating jobs in the region,” Trennepohl said. “We have around 75 employees, ranging from our senior animal care technicians who take care of day-to-day animal care to our animal control officers or veterinary technicians, so we have vacancies there most of the year. we are hiring for. ”

One block north of the planned site, Carrie Dugan sat with her dog Squeak.

“It’s going to be great. It’ll give them more room for the animals. It’ll help them take care of more animals. They’ll take more animals off the streets and give them the help they have. need, “she said.” Animals are family. For me, animals are family, not just pets.

“I don’t mind a barking dog,” Sherry Dugan said as Bailey May sat quietly in her lap.

IACS will host a Wavetastic event this week on Wednesday where dogs will spend the afternoon in outdoor racing areas showing off for potential adoption.

Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., the IACS will be holding nightly adoption hours for free adoptions of animals that have been microchipped implanted and vaccinated.

For more information, see the IACS Facebook page.


Boyd S. Abbott

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