Frequently Asked Questions
How do I go about adopting a pet?
It’s simple! First step is to fill out the adoption application. If you currently own other dogs, cats or ferrets, we will also need a vet release form completed to confirm that your animals are up to date on their rabies vaccinations per state law. Once this is done, it will take approximately 24 hours to process the application. While your application is being processed, you can place a temporary hold on the animal you like. Holds are good for 24 hours and we accept up to 3 holds on an animal.
Is there a waiting period?
Yes. It takes approximately 24 hours to approve your application. If you have a pet currently, we will call your vet’s office to make sure your pet is up-to-date on its rabies vaccinations. Staff will contact you after the application is processed. Approved applicants will be asked to schedule an appointment to adopt your new pet. However, if you are adopting a dog and currently own a dog, a “meet and greet with the dogs” will be scheduled to ensure your animals are compatible prior to finalizing an adoption. Applications are kept on file for the calendar year.
I already have a dog at home. Can I bring him to meet the dog that I want to adopt?
Once you have successfully completed the adoption application process, yes, we schedule “meet and greets” prior to finalizing any adoption. We require this as part of the adoption process to ensure that your dog or dogs and the shelter dog will be compatible. We want a healthy and happy blending of the animals. Incompatibility can create unnecessary and unhealthy stress on the animals.
We’ll also ask that all the family members come and meet the animal, too. There are rare instances where a dog just doesn’t like someone in the family possibly due to a past experience with another man or woman or child in their life history.
Do you require fenced in yards in order to adopt?
No. However, we want to ensure that the adoptive family will provide proper exercise, ensure the animal has a safe area in which to run and play, and spend quality time with their animal.
Can we keep our adopted dog or cat outside?
Currently, most of our animals are to be adopted as inside pets. When providing outside time for an animal, we ask that the owner be with the animal or provide a safe location where the animal can be left to exercise with minimal supervision. Animals should not be left for prolonged periods of time outside without food, water or shelter nor should they be tethered for extended periods of time.
Outside adoptions may be considered based on the breed of the dog or cat and special needs of the dog or cat. A home inspection may be required to determine the suitability of an outside adoption.
Can you call me when you receive the type of pet I am looking for?
Unfortunately, no, we are unable to do this due to the volumes of calls we get on a daily basis. However, the Humane Society’s website is a “live” website which means as soon as an animal is moved up for adoption, it will be listed on the site. And, if the animal is adopted, it will be removed from the site as soon as it is adopted. This gives you a quick and up-to-date listing of all of the great animals available. Check out the website at www.elkharthumanesociety/adopt
Do you spay and neuter all of the shelter adoptable animals?
Yes. The shelter has a veterinarian on staff and a clinic with surgical capacity is located in the facility
Because the shelter admits almost 6,000 animals a year, the clinic is not available for outside public use.
My pet is missing. What advice can you offer me?
As soon as you notice your pet is missing, call the Humane Society at 574-848-4225 to complete a lost report. We are the only Humane Society in Elkhart County, and people often bring stray or found animals to the shelter or call to report a found animal. Additionally, we serve as animal control for the county and often pick up stray or running at large animals which are then housed at the shelter.
We’ll also ask that you come into the shelter and look for your animal. Only you know what your pet looks like, and we often get similar looking animals of the same breed.
Contact your local newspaper and check ads for lost and found. There are some social media sites that also post lost and found information. Some of the area newspapers will print a missing pet ad in their classifieds at no charge to you.
Post flyers in your neighborhood including a photograph.
We do ask pet guardians to be proactive, and consider a microchip for their dog or cat. This service can be provided at the Humane Society or at your local vet office.
What do I do if I find a stray animal?
The Humane Society of Elkhart County will only accept animals found in Elkhart County excluding the city of Nappanee which is serviced by another animal welfare group.
First and foremost, immediately contact the Humane Society at 574-848-4225 to file a found report. Take the animal to the Humane Society or to a local vet office to check for a microchip which readily identifies a possible owner.
Follow up by checking in the neighborhood to see if someone is missing the animal. You may also contact your local newspaper to see if they run free ads in the classifieds for found animals. There are also social media sites which may post lost and found information.
When turning in an animal, you will need to provide a valid driver’s license or proof of identification to confirm you are an Elkhart County resident. Once a stray animal is released to the Humane Society, no further information will be provided to you or anyone else other than the owner regarding the status of the animal.
Individuals who wish to keep the animal at their home after filing a report and having the animal checked for a microchip, may hold onto the animal for up to ten days. The animal must remain with you and should not be moved from one location to another. If you do not want to continue to keep the animal for that period of time, you may turn the animal into the Humane Society immediately or before the ten day period ends. It will be accepted as a stray and no fee will be charged. Again, once a stray animal is released to the Humane Society, no further information will be provided to you or anyone else other than the owner regarding the status of the animal.
If you feel you may want to keep the animal as your pet, you may continue to keep the animal. After ten days from the report date to the Humane Society and checking for microchip and no lost report has been filed, the animal may be considered your pet. Nonetheless, if you keep the animal beyond the 10 days and then decide to turn it into the Humane Society, you will then be charged an owner release fee.
What happens if I release my pet to you?
Before you release your animal to the shelter, ensure that this is truly the decision you want to make and no other options are available. You may have other friends or relatives who would want to continue to provide a loving home for your animal.
Adopt a Pet and the Petco Foundation have created a Rehome program. You can visit the website at rehome.adoptapet.com to learn more. Through their website, they will assist you in creating a profile for your pet and also assist in the process of finding the best home available for that pet.
After having exhausted all other efforts, you will need to contact the Humane Society at 574-848-4225 to set up an appointment to release your animal. This allows the shelter appropriate time to accommodate animals coming in other than strays. We accept animals only from Elkhart County (excluding Nappanee City which is serviced by another animal welfare agency).
On the day your release your animal, you will need to bring your driver’s license or valid ID to confirm you are a resident of Elkhart County. Also, any vet records you have which provides valuable information about your animal’s vaccinations or medical history are very helpful.
You will complete an owner release form, which will ask for information about the animal that may help us find a new family. A fee will be assessed for release of the animal and will vary depending on whether or not the animal has aggression issues, has bitten or is extremely ill.
Once you release your pet to us, it is final. No further information will be provided to you or anyone else regarding the status of the animal. Upon release, the Humane Society has the right to determine the appropriate disposition of the animal.
Not all animals admitted to the shelter are considered adoptable. During the spring and summer months, the shelter admits over 500 to 600+ animals per month. Some animals may be deemed adoptable and selected for adoption; some may go to other collaborating animal welfare and rescue agencies; some may be sent to foster locations until they can be adopted; and some may not be deemed suitable for adoption and may have to be euthanized.
Are sick and injured animals immediately euthanized?
No. Based on the nature of the illness or injury and sometimes in consultation with the shelter’s veterinarian, we treat a limited number of animals in our isolation and rehabilitation areas. Depending on the prognosis and adoptability of the animal, there are also limited funds provided by caring individuals to help obtain outside veterinary care for special cases requiring care beyond the scope of the shelter’s inhouse capabilities
How long does the Humane Society keep stray animals that are turned in at the shelter?
Stray animals found in Elkhart County may be turned in by the general public or impounded by law enforcement or Humane Society animal control officers. Strays may be held for 3 days. If there is some identification such as a microchip or tag that indicates an animal is owned, the animal may be held up to 10 days. Animals meeting adoption criteria may be placed in adoption after this holding period. Adoptable animals stay in adoption until they find their forever homes or during high admission times, may be transferred to be adopted through some of our terrific animal welfare partners.
What should I do if I suspect someone is being cruel to or neglecting an animal?
You may start by calling the Humane Society at 574-848-4225. If you suspect and see signs of evidence that someone is mistreating their animal, or if the animal is in immediate danger, we will request that you contact local law enforcement so that we may coordinate our work with them to address the issue.
You will be asked for your name and phone number, however, your call is confidential. This information is necessary for our records and would be needed if we work with law enforcement to prosecute a case.
As we investigate cases and work within legal parameters, all information is kept confidential in order not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation and to substantiate any legitimate claims. If needed, law enforcement and the Humane Society work together to provide any documentation which would be needed to prosecute legitimate substantiated claims.
Everyone needs to take a stand and speak out to prevent animal abuse!