In 1905, nine concerned citizens founded the Humane Society of Indianapolis to prevent cruelty to women, children, animals, and other sentient beings. The organization functioned for several decades with limited funds and low visibility.

Humane Society of Indianapolis Animal Care Technician, Jessi Davis, cuddles with 23 chihuahuas surrendered to the Humane Society from a southern Indiana home, 2017 Credit: Michelle Pemberton, IndyStar View Source

A bequest from the estate of Mary Powell Crume allowed the group to purchase the grounds of the Indiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on North Michigan Road in 1965. By 1967, the Humane Society of Indianapolis had its first shelter facility that housed dogs, cats, and barnyard animals. Focusing only on animals, the society began kennel operations, adoption and education programs, and rescue and investigation services.

In 1990, the nonprofit organization built a new facility at 7929 N. Michigan Road. It simultaneously adopted a new mission, refocusing on sheltering animals, care and treatment education, and animal welfare advocacy. With the capacity to house 300 small animals, the Humane Society of Indianapolis only served cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals in the early 1990s, due to changing demands and new animal welfare laws. The Humane Society of Indianapolis opened its Animal Welfare Center in the Haughville neighborhood in 2012 and continues to provide low-cost vaccinations and spay/neuter services at the downtown clinic.

Corgis lead the pack during the annual IndyHumane Mutt Strut around the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019 Indyhumane Mutt Strutt Credit: Matt Kryger/IndyStar View Source

Known as IndyHumane since 2018, the organization’s locations collectively support an average of 10,000 animals each year, roughly 90 percent of which are adopted. The complete range of services includes two low-cost vaccination clinics, a spay/neuter clinic, behavioral resources for cats and dogs, a dog park, lost-and-found assistance, surrender services, and a youth summer camp. IndyHumane’s large volunteer program works with 600 volunteers and 350 foster families, which contributes more than 60,000 hours to the organization each year.

IndyHumane’s signature special event is Indy Mutt Strut, where people and pets from across Indiana have walked the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to fundraise each fall since 2003. Annual revenue for the organization averages $7 million and comes from monetary donations, in-kind donations, fees for services, and investment income.

Revised March 2021

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