As IndyHumane expanded to serve a larger number of animals, the organization’s footprint in the city expanded, as well, eventually holding properties as far north as the Indianapolis Zoo near its home at the time in Washington Park. In the mid-1960s, IndyHumane’s leadership decided it was time to consolidate and establish a single location for all our operations.
In 1965, we purchased a small farm at the corner of 79th Street and Michigan Road from local legend Otto Ray. The farmhouse and several outbuildings — all larger than the organization had worked in previously — were converted to housing homeless and abused animals. Dogs and cats were kept near horses, donkeys, and other barnyard animals, and just a handful of staff and volunteers took care of everything.
In the late 1980s, both Indianapolis and animal welfare laws had changed significantly, and we were called upon less and less for barnyard animals and more and more for dogs, cats, and other domesticated pets.
A plan was put together to build a brand-new shelter specifically to house and care for companion pets, and the facility as we know it today began taking shape. Construction lasted between 1989 and 1991, and the new shelter – with capacity for 300 dogs, cats, and small mammals – opened to a wave of excitement and community support.
Not long after, however, IndyHumane’s leadership realized the need to add more medical capacity to adequately handle the complex medical needs of shelter pets, and to better care for sick and injured pets in a shelter setting. The 12,000-square-foot IndyHumane Downtown Clinic, created with the assistance of Halstead Architects, has allowed us to continue expanding our services to animals and owners in need throughout Indianapolis.