FAQ and Resources

General Questions

Who funds Animal Care Services?2017-05-12T11:41:56-04:00

The Animal Care Services Department is operated by both city tax dollars and through fines/fees.  The general operating budget covers basic services including wages, utilities, and maintenance of both the facility and vehicles.

The Adoption/Medical fund does not use tax dollars and is supported by fines, fees, and monetary donations.  These donations cover spaying and neutering costs, pet care services, veterinarian treatment for pets housed at the facility, pet food, as well as promotion of adoptions and educational programs.  Our budget relies heavily on monetary and in-kind donations by the public that allows us to stretch our dollars further than otherwise possible.

Do you take donations? Do you accept volunteer help at the shelter?2017-05-12T12:15:17-04:00

Yes! We welcome donations of all kinds – monetary, supplies and people willing to volunteer their time and/or services. Click “Get Involved” to open a web page discussing donations and volunteer opportunities.  Donations made to the shelter are tax-deductible.

Monetary donations are deposited in an Adoption-Medical Fund and help to offset the cost of providing spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, micro-chipping and fecal exams. Click here to open a PDF form for making a donation. Print a copy of the form, fill it out and submit it with your donation.

Supplies, such as pet toys and treats, pet food, cat litter, newspapers, bleach, blankets and towels are items that are always greatly appreciated.

Volunteers do things like light cleaning, socializing and exercising the animals. If they are under 13 years old they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while at the shelter. All volunteers must sign a liability waiver prior to working.

Are you the Humane Society?2017-05-12T11:54:32-04:00

No, we are not the Humane Society. We are one of the departments of the City of Columbus. We utilize humane ideals and objectives in our operation and adhere to many of the guidelines set forth by nationally recognized Humane Organizations, but technically we are not a “Humane Society” operation. In this area there is a Bartholomew County Humane Society that serves the county population (outside the city limits). The Columbus Animal Control Shelter serves the population within the Columbus City limits.

I want to get my animals neutered. Is there any assistance available for low-income people?2018-04-16T11:47:27-04:00

The shelter does not have funds available to help people with spaying or neutering their own pets, but there is a local rescue group called C.A.R.E. that facilitates a low-cost spay/neuter clinic called ‘Pets Alive’. Information on pricing and sign-up can be obtained at Specks Pet Store (3860 Carlos Folger Drive, Columbus) and on C.A.R.E.’s website at www.care.rescuegroups.org. We also have limited contact information at the shelter, but we can point you in the right direction to get more comprehensive information. The clinic generally comes to the shelter three times per month.

I lost a pet. What should I do?2017-01-16T21:45:55-05:00

Contact the local shelters (both the city and county) and local veterinarians and give them a description of the pet and your contact information to see if anyone has found or brought in your pet.

Create a flyer with a picture of your pet for the shelters and veterinarians to display and also post them around your neighborhood.

Daily check the want ads/lost & found section of the local paper.

Take frequent walks or drives around your neighborhood (maybe enlist a team of others to help search).

I found a lost pet – what should I do?2017-05-12T12:09:35-04:00

If the animal has a collar, check for tags that might have identification and owner contact information. Rabies tags can be traced throught the veterinarian’s office that gave the vaccine.

You might try taking the animal on a walk around the neighborhood to see if the owner is out looking for their pet.

You can take the animal to a veterinarian or an animal shelter and have it scanned for a microchip.

Contact the animal shelters (Columbus Animal Shelter – 812.376.2505 and Bartholomew County Humane Society – 812.372.6063) – and provide a description of the pet and see if someone has reported it missing.

If no ID exists, you are unable to locate the owner and you live within the Columbus city limits, contact the Columbus Animal Shelter at (812) 376-2505. You can either bring the animal in, or we can come and pick up the animal. If you live outside the city limits, contact County Animal Control  at (812) 372-1935.

Who do I call if I have an animal problem at night or on a weekend?2018-07-25T21:00:43-04:00

Outside our normal hours of operation (M-F 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Sat. 10:00 am-noon), City residents can call Central Dispatch at (812) 379-1689 and they will contact an Animal Control officer.

You can leave a message on on voicemail at our office – 812.376.2505. We try to respond to any animal related call, anytime, not just emergencies. This includes lost and found pets, barking dogs, animals running loose, wildlife problems, etc.

NOTE: COUNTY residents with animal related problems should call County Animal Control at (812) 372-1935.

Where are you listed in the telephone book? What is your contact information?2018-07-25T20:53:36-04:00

In the Business section of the White Pages, under “COLUMBUS CITY OF-“, listed as “Animal Shelter”

Our phone number during Office hours (M-F 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Sat. 10:00 am-noon) is 812.376.2505
Outside of normal office hours we can be reached through Central Dispatch at 812.379.1689

Our email address is animalcareservices@columbus.in.gov

Where are you located and what are your hours?2018-07-25T21:01:49-04:00

The Columbus Animal Shelter’s address is: 2730 Arnold Drive (Columbus, IN 47203)
The Shelter is located just southeast of the Bakalar Airport at the far east end of Arnold Street
– see the Google Map inset on the Homepage.

Columbus Animal Control Office Hours are:
Monday – Friday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am -12:00pm
Sundays and Holidays – Closed
The shelter is open for visiting the animals from:

Monday – Friday 10:00am – 12:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 12:00pm
Sunday – Closed
Holidays Call 376-2505 to verify hours on holidays

(Note: We will also meet with people before or after these hours, if necessary, and are available for animal related calls and assistance anytime.)

Animal Control Laws

What can be done about my neighbor’s cat “doing its business” in my flowerbeds?2017-01-16T21:45:55-05:00

Cats, just like dogs, are to be under the owner’s control at all times. If a cat owner allows their pet to come on to your property and “do its business” two separate violations have occured. You can contact us anytime to file a complaint (812.376.2505). You do not need to leave your name or sign an affidavit, but we must see a violation take place before we can take any action involving fines or impoundment of the pet. You may not take any action upon yourself that would injure the cat.

A neighbor’s dog seems very aggressive but has not gotten loose yet. Is there anything that can be done?2018-04-16T11:54:09-04:00

If a dog is not leaving its owner’s property, then no ordinances are being broken and there is nothing that an Animal Care Services Officer can do. Make sure to take special care to keep people and other pets off of this property to avoid any potential problems. If the dog leaves its property and is aggressive to people or other animals, call Animal Care Services immediately at (812) 376-2505.

What can be done about barking dogs?2017-01-16T21:45:55-05:00

Often times just speaking with your neighbor will solve the problem. But if you do not feel comfortable with that, or you have tried and there has not been any relief – you can contact our office (812.376.2505) and register a complaint. This first complaint can be anonymous, but we need the specific address of the problem. Our officers will go out and make contact with the owner of the pet. They will try to discuss what the owner can do to alleviate the problem, explain the owner’s responsibility in the matter and the possible legal action which could result should the problem persist. Any further complaints concerning this matter require the submission of a signed complaint by a witness.

Our officers will then issue citations for the infraction. The ordinances stipulate that the barking must be continuous for more than a twenty minute period to be considered an actionable nuisance. The witness must be willing to appear in court to testify should the owner deny that their pet causes a nuisance. Fines for nuisance violations increase for each offense and a compaintant may sign complaints for each seperate incident.

Do I have to license my pet?2017-01-16T21:45:55-05:00

There is no city ordinance requiring that pets be licensed. However, there is an ordinance that requires pets to have up-to-date indentification on them. This could be accomplished by a variety of means, including microchip, rabies tag, store-bought ID tag, or an ID plate on a collar. Some of these are more reliable than others. A combination of two or more is best to ensure your pet can be returned to you if it were to go missing.

Is there a leash law in Columbus?2017-01-16T21:45:55-05:00

The technical answer is NO. A leash law requires that all pets be on a leash or lead or within a secure enclosure at all times. In theory, that is great. Is it enforceable, or realistic? No. This would mean if you were outside playing frisbee with your dog – it would have to be on a leash. Or, if your grandmother was working in her garden and her poodle was sleeping under a tree, the animal control department could fine her for not having her pet on a leash.

It is always the responsible thing to do to have your pet leashed when you cannnot devote your total attention to them, or when exercising your pet in a populated area or when approaching strangers. The community recognizes that most pet owners are responsible. Those pet owners that have their pets properly trained and can keep control of their pets (keeping them close to them and off another person’s property) should not necessarily have to keep them on a leash. But, those who can not, or will not, control their pets can be required by the Animal Control Department to keep their pets under physical restraint at all times (the leash law).

Animal Shelter & Adoption

Why don’t you just give pets away?2017-02-22T17:00:30-05:00

There are costs involved in taking care of pets at the shelter and this is the amount that has been determined by law. Many people treat something they get for free just like that, “it is free, I can always get another”. We do not want to condone that belief, especially when it comes to pets. We generally incur far more expenses in medical treatment for animals than the adoption fee recovers. That is why donations to the Adoption and Medical fund are important to our ability to send animals home for the nominal price that we charge.

Why do adopted pets have to be spayed or neutered?2017-01-16T21:45:54-05:00

Unfortunately, there are over 10,000 dogs and cats born in the country every minute and there are not enough good homes for them all. Animal Shelters exist because no one can take care of all the animals and some pet owners are irresponsible. One means of controlling pet overpopultaiotn is to have pets spayed or neutered. We adhere to that belief and do not want to perpetuate the overpopulation problem.

What is the process for adopting pets from the shelter? How much does it cost?2017-01-16T21:45:54-05:00

The process is simple. Come in and find a pet that you think will be a ‘good fit’ for your family. Fill out a fairly simple application. The next day (we always have a 1-day waiting period), call to see if your application has been accepted. We have an obligation to these pets to try to place them in good permanent homes, so they do not have to suffer again. We use that time to verify addresses, check our records and speak with landlords and allow you time to consider your decision.

If your application is accepted but your pet is not already spayed or neutered, we will schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Once all the necessary medical work is done – come back in, sign an adoption agreement, pay the adoption fee ($100 for dogs, $80 for cats – this fee covers the cost of spay/neuter procedures, vacinations, microchipping and a fecal exam) and take home your new family member.

What do you do with “found” animals? How long do you hold them before they go up for adoption?2017-05-12T11:32:41-04:00

Stray domestic pets (dogs and cats) are held for at least one week (7 days) before we put them up for adoption. During that time we advertise them in the lost and found section of the newspaper.

If an owner gives up their pet, no holding period is required. We put them up for adoption immediately. We try to keep adoptable pets as long as possible, with no set holding period.

What kind of pets do you have at the shelter?2017-05-12T12:02:00-04:00

We always have dogs and cats. Occasionally we have other small domestic pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, parakeets, goldfish, ferrets, parrots, …etc.)

We also respond to calls involving all sorts of wildlife including birds, snakes, deer, bats, skunks, beaver, opossum, raccoons, chipmunks, ground squirrels, groundhogs, coyotes, wolves, fox, badgers, fish, …etc., which we release back into the wild as soon as possible.

Animal Related Links

Animal Care Services

2730 Arnold Street
Columbus, IN 47203
(812) 376-2505
TDD: Call 711
Contact Us

After Hours Call
(812) 379-1689 to have an Animal Control Officer paged.

Our Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon

Closed on Thursdays, Sundays and Holidays

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