Indianapolis Animal Care Services to pilot national program

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) is testing out a national initiative to help pets stay with families.

The agency said the initiative, Human Animal Support Services (HASS) emerged during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelters from across the nation discussed how to continue to operate during the shutdown.

“We know we can do better when it comes to getting pets home and keeping them with their families,” said Katie Trennepohl, Deputy Director of IACS. “With this pilot program, we’ll have the support behind us to more effectively develop these services.”

The IACS says the goals of the initiative include:

  • Helping struggling pet owners access resources to keep their pets
  • Getting stray pets home quickly without them having to enter the shelter
  • Providing food and medical assistance
  • Housing more pets in foster homes
  • Providing telehealth assessments for people considering pet surrender due to medical reasons
  • Allowing the public to quickly access the shelter through text and email exchanges

The IACS implemented some of the initiative’s ideas in March with the Indy CARES program. This program helps provide and connect pet owners with resources that include medical vouchers, short-term foster care, and re-homing assistance among other things. Other programs, like telehealth and getting stray pets home services will be new for IACS.

“We need bold, innovative solutions to help our community overcome the unprecedented challenges we are facing,” said Trennepohl. “We are committed to doing everything we can to support Marion County pets and their owners and to helping IACS become a community pet resource center.”

Other cities taking part in this pilot program include Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego, Kansas City, MO, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC.

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