*Updated July 7, 2020**
PLEASE CALL US BEFORE VISITING.
With the recent increase in Covid 19 cases in Elkhart County, we want to keep our staff and community safe.
Upon arrival at HSEC, to help manage traffic flow, we ask that you call us before coming to the building. 574-848-4225
Lost or Found a Pet – Please call us to file a report. If you are missing a pet, visit our website to see the lost pets currently residing at HSEC.
As communities around the nation “re-open” for services I want to update you on what protocols and policies we have enacted to keep our volunteers, staff, and members of the public safe. As you may know, the care of animals is an essential function and your Humane Society has remained open throughout this pandemic. We have, however, had to amend some of our protocols to keep everyone safe. We have followed the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the National Animal Care and Control Association.
When COVID-19 first began affecting some in our community we thought, and hoped, that the virus would be short-lived, and we would return to “normal” as soon as possible. As we have seen, the number of cases initially looked promising for Elkhart County; however, they have recently begun to increase drastically. It is for these purposes that we have continued to follow the recommended guidelines of the national organizations:
- The likely impact of COVID-19 on shelters is a trend of average to increased intakes combined with reduced foster, adoption, and rescue outcomes. Therefore, the recommendation is for shelters to suspend the intake of healthy stray cats. Animals should only come to the shelter if their life is at stake and human intervention is required to prevent death. Sick and/or injured animals will receive priority for treatment.
- The Humane Society of Elkhart County is asking that members of our community help with caring for tame or obvious pet cats and dogs. In most cases, cats that have wandered from home will find their way back home on their own and finders are being asked to assist with doing so whenever possible.
- Dispatch and Law Enforcement officials have been notified that we have moved to “high-priority/emergency only” operations for animal control. This will include any calls where law enforcement requests our assistance, injured, sick or aggressive animals, and animals that are requiring a bite quarantine away from home. Our animal control officers have been responding to cruelty and neglect cases based on severity.
- We have suspended low-priority services until the end of quarantine including, but not limited to; non-aggressive stray cat pick-ups, licensing violations (where required), trap-loan programs, owner-surrendered animals, noise violations or neighbor disputes.
- Non-emergency owner surrender of pets has been deferred until we are certain the shelter can care for each pet released to us. We are currently encouraging owners to have a plan for their pets should they be too ill to care for the pet whenever possible. We also have worked with owners to assist them in finding an alternative to surrendering their pets, such as our food assistance program which is designed to help keep pets in their homes with their owners.
- All staff members have been provided with personal protective equipment to keep them safe throughout their time at work. Caring for COVID exposed animals calls for additional protective gear which is issued to those staff caring for those animals.
- All volunteer services (Including our Red Barn Resale Shop) have been suspended during this time as we closely watch the increase in the rate of positive cases in Elkhart County. At this point, it is essential that we continue to ask our volunteers to remain home and wait to visit their animal friends when it is safe to do so.
- Fundraising events have been postponed or cancelled during the pandemic to help ensure that physical distancing can be observed.
We so greatly appreciate all the support and encouragement from our closest friends for the animals in our community. Many of you have reached out and supported the Humane Society either through monetary donations, pet food donations or even taking in animals during this time.
We are hopeful that we will begin to see the cases of COVID-19 decrease in our county and we will be able to “re-open” fully to the public and our volunteers.
For additional information on our protocols please visit our website at www.elkharthumanesociety.org or contact me at 574-848-4225.
Thank you and stay safe!
No one wants to think about having to rehome their pet. Life can change quickly and sometimes this is a tough decision an owner has to make. Here is some information and options available for those facing this situation.
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.
Every situation is different, for more information, we encourage you to contact our staff directly at 574-848-4225.
The Humane Society of Elkhart County appreciates when the public provides information which allows law enforcement and the Humane Society to address potential cruelty/neglect. However, due to local and state statues, the investigative process must follow specific guidelines to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to preserve the integrity of a potential case. Here are reminder tips that will help make the Humane Society and law enforcement’s jobs effective:
- Call the Humane Society and/or law enforcement to report suspected abuse or neglect providing details that you have seen as an eye witness. Hearsay or second-hand information is not acceptable. Individual citizens and the general public do not have the authority to make any assessments or make contacts beyond authorized agencies — law enforcement and the Humane Society.
- Provide answers to questions from law enforcement of the Humane Society regarding location, nature of the abuse or neglect and your personal name and phone number in order that they may speak with you further as needed. (This information is confidential and not shared with the suspect.)
- If you are onsite, for your safety and the safety and well-being of the animals, respect the work of Humane Society and law enforcement officers and do not interfere as they are dealing with the animals.
- Understand that posting any information on social media or spreading of information which has yet to be confirmed or denied may jeopardize the investigative process and destroy the integrity of the case.
- The Humane Society’s main responsibilities include helping the animals in question and working in cooperation with law enforcement. No information will be provided during the investigative process other than such information as may be allowed by law enforcement.
- As for the future disposition of case animals, a full assessment will be conducted by the Humane Society and the Humane Society. In accordance with all legal guidelines, the Humane Society then has the authority to make determination on behalf of animals and what is best for the animals in question.