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‘Love me. Fix me.’ Initiative Launches in Indianapolis

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment
Love me, fix me logo.

Logo provided by the Humane Society of Indianapolis and used with written permission.

By Kristin Conrad
Humane Society of Indianapolis
http://indyhumane.org/

Indianapolis has a pet problem. There are too many cats and dogs running loose, and too few have been spayed and neutered. As a result, nearly 18,000 animals per year end up in government facilities with too few being adopted.

But a coalition of private and public animal welfare organizations is joining forces to address the problem. And this week, three local funders, led by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, announced that they are investing more than $2 million into a collaborative effort to enhance services, educate pet owners and dramatically increase spay/neuter rates in central Indiana.

With the Humane Society of Indianapolis acting as lead agency, the Indianapolis Animal Welfare Alliance will use the funds in three ways:

  • Increased access to spay/neuter services in underserved areas of the city
  • Community outreach and education
  • A region-wide PR campaign called “Love me. Fix me.” focused on spay/neuter services, adoptions and responsible pet ownership.

In addition to the Humane Society of Indianapolis, the members in the recently formed Animal Welfare Alliance include Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, FACE (Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia), Southside Animal Shelter, Cat’s Haven, FIDO (Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside), Indy Pit Crew, Casa Del Toro, and Paws and Think. Other groups may join in the future.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has awarded the Alliance initiative a $1.25 million grant; Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $500,000 grant; and the Tony Stewart Foundation has awarded a $30,000 grant.

Pulliam Trustee Kent E. Agness said that today’s announced grants of more than $1.5 million to four animal welfare organizations more than double the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust’s commitment to an animal welfare cause its founder and namesake held dear.

“Nina Mason Pulliam, our founder, was a great animal lover,” said Agness. “Her homes in Indianapolis and Phoenix were havens for creatures great and small. Over the years, the funds she entrusted to us have supported many community improvements and animal welfare is one key area.”

“The timing is right,” said Michael Twyman, the Pulliam Trust’s director of Indiana program grants. “A true consortium of interested animal organizations is now operating effectively after three years of organizing. Because of that strong alliance, we are confident that this community-wide campaign will result in a significant reduction in the number of homeless or unwanted cats and dogs in Indianapolis, and increases in animal adoptions.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard hailed the privately funded, nonprofit-managed initiative as a model of public/private cooperation.

“It always is our intent to reduce the number of animals coming into our shelters. This generous funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Lilly Endowment and Tony Stewart Foundation will greatly enable our all-hands-on-deck approach to educate the public about spay-neuter services and responsible pet ownership,” said Mayor Ballard. “It is our goal that this partnership lowers the number of stray cats and dogs in our community and finds more of them adopted into loving homes.”

The Pulliam Trust also announced that it has awarded three other grants to Alliance members and partners for related initiatives.

FACE (Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia) will receive a $170,300 grant to double the number of cats neutered from 3,000 to 6,000. The money also will facilitate a merger between FACE and IndyFeral, to more effectively decrease growth in the feral cat population in Indianapolis neighborhoods.

The Southside Animal Shelter will receive an $85,000 grant for two years of project support to develop the Silver Tails program to rescue, rehabilitate and find homes for at least 120 senior and special-needs dogs. The program will focus on increasing animal adoptions from the shelter, and trust funding will primarily cover medical costs, such as vaccines and spay/neuter surgeries of the dogs.

Cat’s Haven will receive a $25,000 grant to provide a free-roaming sanctuary for more than 100 sick, homeless or feral cats daily, or about 300 per year. Trust funding will cover veterinarian expenses, food and shelter supplies, outreach programs for local community residents, spay/neuter education for low-income pet owners, and community awareness through participation in citywide events.

“All of us in the animal welfare community are overwhelmed by the generosity and foresight of these grantmakers,” said Humane Society of Indianapolis CEO John Aleshire. “This investment of more than $2 million represents the largest consolidated investment we’ve ever seen for this cause in this community. We’ll truly be able to put this issue on the public agenda, enhance the services we’re able to provide, and make a far more concerted effort to increase the number of adoptions and decrease the number of strays on our streets and in our neighborhoods.”

“That’s going to save animals’ lives and taxpayers’ money. For that, we are very grateful to the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Lilly Endowment and the Tony Stewart Foundation.”

The initiative will be planned and implemented over three years. For more information, visit http://indyhumane.org/, or call 317-872-5650.