Frequently Asked Questions

Humane Society of Elkhart County FAQ

Q.  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.

Q.  Is there a waiting period?

Yes.  It takes approximately 24 hours to approve your application.  If you rent, we’ll be contacting your landlord to ensure you are able to have animals and any other requirements they may place on you. 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. Once you are approved, you can contact the shelter to schedule a time and day to adopt the animal. However, if you are adopting a dog and currently own a dog, a “meet and greet” will be scheduled to ensure your animals are compatible prior to finalizing an adoption.

Q.  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.

Q. Why should I adopt when I can just get a free animal?

 

If you take a look below, you will see that an animal you could get for “free” really costs you more than an animal you would adopt from the shelter.

HSEC Fee Chart

* Estimated vet costs.

**Only if the animal has been here long enough and is old enough to receive a rabies vaccination.

When you adopt from the shelter, you get a bargain as well as a loving companion! Plus through our companion program, it is adopt one pet and take home another pet for a waived adoption fee. 

Q. Do you require fenced in yards in order to adopt?

No.  However, we want to ensure that the adoptive family will provide proper exercise and spend time with their animal.

Q. 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 will only be considered based on the breed of the dog or cat and will require a home inspection to determine the suitability of an outside adoption.

Q.  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, our  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 animal available. Check out our adoptable pets section here.

Q.  Do you have a spay and neuter program?

Due to the availability of low cost spay/neuter clinics and a state wide initiative, we no longer offer a spay/neuter program. There are two area low cost spay/neuter clinics – one in South Bend, Indiana (ABC Clinic) and one in Fort Wayne (Hope for Animals). Additionally, there is a State wide program (SNAP) in which any local veterinarian can sign up to participate to help expand low cost spay neuter options.  It is sponsored by fees generated through sales of a pet friendly license plate that is offered through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  All of these options may be researched online.

Q. Why don’t you spay and neuter all of the shelter animals?

We do not have a veterinarian on staff.  We do sometimes have grants made available so that we can get some of our animals spayed or neutered prior to adoption, and we sometimes get animals turned into us that are already spayed or neutered.

It is required that persons who adopt from the shelter get their unaltered adopted cats and dogs spayed and neutered within one month from the adoption date.   If the adopted animal is under six months of age, it must be spayed/neutered once it reaches 6 months.

Q.  My pet is missing. What advice can you offer me?

As soon as you notice your pet is missing, call the Humane Society 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.  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.

Q. 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 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 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.

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.  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 will become 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.

Q.  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.  After having exhausted all other efforts, we accept animals only from Elkhart County (excluding Nappanee City which is serviced by another animal welfare agency).

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 is 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 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 400 to 500+ 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. 

Q. Are sick and injured animals immediately euthanized?

No. Based on the nature of the illness or injury and sometimes in consultation with outside veterinary support, we treat a limited number of animals in our rehabilitation area. 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.

Q.  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, are transferred to be adopted through some of our terrific animal welfare partners.  

Q.  What should I do if I suspect someone is being cruel to or neglecting an animal?

You should call the Humane Society right away.  If you suspect and see signs of evidence that someone is mistreating their animal, give us a call so we can investigate.   If the animal is in immediate danger, we may request that you contact local law enforcement so that we may coordinate our work with them to address the issue.  

We will ask you for your name and address, 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.

Everyone needs to take a stand and speak out to prevent animal abuse!