Indianapolis animal shelter to get new $30M facility amid overcrowding problems

The Indianapolis Animal Care Services shelter is getting a new facility at a former public housing complex, located at 5001 E. Raymond Street, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Thursday morning.

Owned by the Indianapolis Housing Agency, the Clearstream site has been vacant for nearly two decades. The city said it is collaborating with the agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on final terms for property transfer, which will be funded through city funds.

The new shelter will be located in the 46203 zip code, the second-highest zip code for stray pick-ups and animal control-related runs, according to the city. The adjacent 46201 zip code takes the top spot for that.

The approximately $30 million facility will be funded by a $19 million bond approved by the City-County Council; $6.7 million raised by the nonprofit that financially supports the shelter, Friends of Indy Animals; a $3 million grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust; a $1 million investment from the Lilly Endowment and a $1 million gift from the Irsay family and the Indianapolis Colts, among other sources.

The facility, which is still being designed, will include a shelter, barn, dog park and garage.

The current city-run animal shelter at Harding Street has long faced problems of dire overcrowding and staff have previously told IndyStar that the outdated building is falling apart and wasn't designed for housing animals for a long period of time.

Upon opening the new facility, the city said the current Harding Street shelter will close.

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“With a new location, we are able to accelerate progress on a new facility while continuing our remediation and development commitments on the Near Eastside,” Hogsett, who is running for reelection Nov. 7, wrote in a news release. “This new site will bring a community resource to a vacant lot while serving Indy zip codes with some of the highest animal care needs in the city.”

Hogsett's Republican challenger for mayor, Jefferson Shreve, said in response to Thursday's announcement that the timing of the announcement is no accident.

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"This is dirty politics at its lowest, with animals being used as collateral to protect Joe Hogsett’s tenuous hold on political power," Shreve wrote in a statement.

Previous site for animal shelter at Sherman Park turned out problematic

Monday night, at a televised mayoral debate on WISH-TV, Shreve pressed Hogsett on what he said was the mayor's failure to deliver on the promise for a new animal care services shelter.

Hogsett had announced in August 2022 that the city would build a new animal shelter on Sherman Park, a former RCA plant. But the Sherman Park site turned out to be problematic, delaying construction, Hogsett said at the debate Monday, adding that he was frustrated that the project is not yet underway.

Mayoral candidate Shreve has made animal welfare a campaign issue

Shreve has made animal welfare a key campaign priority, pledging in early October to improve the animal shelter and donate his entire salary, if elected mayor, to the nonprofit that financially supports the shelter.

He has drawn attention to the euthanization of dogs and cats at the shelter. From January to September this year, 1101 animals were euthanized.

Indianapolis mayoral election 2023: Shreve pledges to improve animal shelter, donate salary, if elected mayor

Hogsett has defended his record on animal welfare, pointing to how the live release rate of animals has increased during his tenure. In 2015, about 81% of animals were adopted or released alive. In 2022, the number was 87%.

Meanwhile, Shreve has rebutted that the live release rate has only increased because the shelter is taking in fewer animals with an appointment-only policy.

The election is Nov. 7. Early voting is underway.

Contact IndyStar reporter Ko Lyn Cheang at or 317-903-7071. Follow her on Twitter: @kolyn_cheang.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indianapolis animal care services: New shelter location at Clearstream