Our Philosophy

Love & Let Live

What is “Truly No-Kill?”

According to the National No-Kill Advocacy Center, an organization is truly no-kill when no animal is euthanized for any reason other than those who are 1) Irremediably suffering or 2) An animal that poses imminent danger to the community after ALL options for behavior modification/rehabilitation have been exhausted, and medical reasons that impact behavior have been ruled out (or euthanasia is court-ordered.)

What is “Irremediable Suffering?”

Irremediable suffering” means an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting physical pain even with prompt, necessary, and comprehensive veterinary care (e.g., end-stage cancer.)

What No-Kill is NOT
  • *Simply not euthanizing for time or space
  • *Re-defining what “adoptable” means so the more expensive, hard to save or place animals aren’t counted in your intake numbers
  • *Automatically euthanizing any dog or cat who has a bite history without consideration of circumstances
  • *Euthanizing dogs with behavior issues without exhausting training and behavior modification, alternatives to shelter care, and ruling out medical reasons
  • *Automatically euthanizing seniors or pets who have terminal or chronic illnesses but are still happy and living a quality life (e.g., beginning stages of renal failure)
  • *Simply achieving an arbitrary placement rate, not even 90% (which is admirable, but not truly no-kill)
Our Philosophy

The Humane Society for Hamilton County embraces these definitions giving every animal a chance regardless of age, breed, special medical needs, disability, time, space or cost.  As an open-admission facility, and the only one serving Hamilton County’s animals and residents, we receive hit-by-car, hoarding, cruelty, and neglect cases, in addition to investigations, stray and unwanted pets 365 days a year.

It is a true testament to the tireless work and commitment of our staff, board, volunteers–and YOU–that we are one of the only open-admission, truly no-kill shelters in the United States.

The chance to live, love and be loved is our promise to them…and to you. 
After all, one of them may be your soulmate.


A Brighter Future

The days of ‘making due’ in our over-crowded facility that is missing fundamental areas necessary to efficiently function simply must end.  The good news is, our dream of building a new state-of-the-art facility that allows for sunlight on cat faces, grass under dog feet, noise control in the kennel, quiet recovery areas for the injured and better disease control to prevent illness is within our grasp.

The Gold

With an open admission policy, a No-Kill philosophy, and more than 3,100 animals crossing our threshold each year, we have still maintained a 98% placement rate over the last 3 years.

This is an amazing feat for any organization…let alone one that takes in some of the most abused, injured and seriously ill animals imaginable.

Measuring Our Impact


Animals Received In 2019


HSHC Placement Rate Percentage In 2019


Hoosier Animals Saved from Other Indiana Shelters and Non-Hamilton County Residents


Number of Lost Pets Reunited With Families In 2019


Years In Operation

  • 1.


    The Humane Society for Hamilton County (HSHC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was founded in 1984.

    We contract with Hamilton County and its municipalities to shelter stray, unwanted and all animals found or seized by Animal Control or law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County.  This annual agreement covers only the basic cost to process and shelter an animal for 7 days per the Hamilton County ordinance.  It does not cover the cost of any life-saving medical care an animal may need, the cost of marketing and fundraising, spay/neuter, or any costs to shelter and care for animals after 7 days.

    This funding represents approximately 20% of our annual operating budget, with the remaining funds raised through individual donations (including bequests and gifts from trusts and stock),  HSHC fundraising events and programs, sponsorships, and grants–in that order.

    HSHC is lead by our President & CEO and Board of Directors.  Meet our team.

  • 2.

    Our Definition of "Adoptable"

    To be truly, no-kill starts with your definition of who is adoptable.  From gray muzzles and disabled pets to those with life-threatening injuries or illnesses, we believe any animal that is savable, treatable or rehabilitatable is adoptable.  This includes “end-of life” or hospice animals who have a short time left but are still happy and loving life as well as FIV and Feline Leukemia positive cats.

    HSHC also works with our local TNR/SNR programs to ensure feral cats and barn cats receive the same chance.

  • 3.

    Best Friends

    We’re committed to finding every adoptable animal a loving home. By focusing our efforts on dynamic adoption and placement programs, each of our animals gets the chance to find a happy, forever home… complete with happy, forever humans.

  • 4.

    Community Outreach

    Our Community Outreach efforts include educational programs that teach the importance of responsible pet ownership, bite prevention, and philanthropy at all ages. We work with numerous Scout troops throughout the year and collaborate with other non-profits to help at-risk youth.

    HSHC continually promotes the principles of responsible pet ownership, including spay/neuter, to our community and offers free resources to Hamilton County residents that prevent animals from entering the shelter system such as:

    • Free behavior/training counseling by phone
    • Free food and supplies through our Pet Food Pantry collaboration with Good Samaritan of Hamilton County
    • Free and/or discounted pet microchipping events
    • Online resources through our website

  • 5.

    Our Statistics

    Our annual placement rate (live release rate) is calculated according to our industry’s Asilomar Accords.  While there are some who consider a 90% live release rate to qualify as “no kill,” the true definition of “no-kill” according to the National No-Kill Advocacy Center means no animal is euthanized for any reason other than those who are:

    1) Irremediably suffering or 2) An animal that poses imminent danger to the community after ALL options for behavior modification/rehabilitation have been exhausted, and medical reasons that impact behavior have been ruled out (or euthanasia is court-ordered.)  While admirable and certainly difficult to achieve, it is not defined by a 90% placement rate or any other arbitrary statistic.

    2019 Statistics

    2018 Statistics

    2017 Statistics

    2016 Statistics

    2015 Statistics

    2014 Statistics

  • 6.

    Remarkable People

    Our employees, volunteers and board of directors are unwavering in their commitment to these animals. Our team works 365 days a year to ensure the animals we serve have the best life possible as they wait for a home. They’re the heart of HSHC…and they are remarkable.


Our Mission

Our mission is: Saving Lives. Educating Communities. Completing Families.

We don’t think any family is complete without a furry companion, and no community is complete without compassion for and a commitment to serve those who have no voice.

Services & Resources

Spay & Neuter

Control pet overpopulation with the Low-Cost Spay Neuter Clinic located next door to HSHC

Pet Food

Free pet food to pet owners dealing with financial hardship (in partnership with Good Samaritan)

Foster Care

Extensive foster care network provides temporary housing to HSHC pets who need a break from the shelter or to recover from medical issues before going up for adoption

Pet Cremation

We partner with Pet Angel Memorial Center to provide dignified and meaningful options for your pet’s body care. We offer the option to either have your pet individually cremated or a communal cremation. Paw prints and name plate keepsakes are also available for purchase. For more information call (317) 773-4974.

Love & Let Live

Every animal deserves a second chance at love — and life. We invite you to be part of the solution and give back to the animals who give us so much.