INDIANAPOLIS – The city of Indianapolis will put its new animal shelter in a different location than originally planned.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said the new Indianapolis Animal Care Services shelter will be located at 5001 E. Raymond St. Original plans had called for the facility to be built on the Sherman Park campus.

In 2022, Hogsett announced the city would build the new shelter. The facility, which animal advocates say is a much-needed upgrade over the current Harding Street shelter, hasn’t yet become a reality.

The animal shelter and Indianapolis Animal Care Services have become an unexpected flashpoint in this year’s mayoral race, with volunteers frustrated at the lack of a new shelter. Republican candidate Jefferson Shreve, facing Hogsett in the race, had advocated for a different site.

The new Raymond Street property is owned by the Indianapolis Housing Authority. It’s been dormant for two decades, and the city is collaborating with both IHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the terms of a property transfer.

The city said the purchase would come through consolidated county funds and will not affect the money being used for construction of the new animal shelter.

According to a news release, the new shelter will be located in the 46203 zip code, which has the second-most stray pick-ups and animal control-related runs in Marion County. The 46201 zip code has the most and is relatively close to the new site.

“With a new location, we are able to accelerate progress on a new facility while continuing our remediation and development commitments on the Near Eastside,” Hogsett said in a news release. “This new site will bring a community resource to a vacant lot while serving Indy zip codes with some of the highest animal care needs in the city.”

Funding for the project includes a $19 million bond approved by the City-County Council, with millions more coming via a Friends of Indy Animals Campaign, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Lilly Endowment and the Irsay family/Indianapolis Colts.

“I am very optimistic about this new site,” Hogsett said. “It’s located in a great location, and we want to get construction as quickly as possible.”

As for the Sherman Park area, the city said it remains committed to a development plan that includes private investment and affordable housing.

“The new site does not have the same remedial needs that the Sherman Park site had,” Abbey Brands, whose department oversees IACS, said. “We are taking the current designs and applying them to the new site to see what works and what tweaks need to be made. Barring the bid process and the design process wrapping up, we are hoping to get construction started in early 2024.”

On Thursday, Shreve replied to Hogsett’s announcement.

The timing is, of course, convenient. Since he last announced a new animal shelter over two years ago, at least 1,500 innocent animals have been euthanized by the city.

“Do not be deceived: the timing of this announcement is no accident,” the mayoral candidate said in a news release. “The administration’s ineptitude has been uncovered by a non-partisan group of activists concerned for the welfare of Indianapolis animals.”

“This is dirty politics at its lowest, with animals being used as collateral to protect Joe Hogsett’s tenuous hold on political power,” he continued. “The timeline of inaction on this issue simply cannot be ignored or papered over by this last-ditch announcement from our election-year mayor.”