Police Departments/Animal Control Agencies

Local Shelters

Hamilton County Ordinances & Indiana State Animal Laws

Hamilton County Animal Laws

Animal Law Update:

2006: The dog tax has been abolished by the State of Indiana. Under the abolishment of this statute they would allow each County to adopt a County Option Dog Tax. Hamilton County has not adopted a County Option Dog Tax and therefore the tax is no longer. This same statute eliminated assessment for fees of Kennel Permits and Breeder Permits.

2007: The State of Indiana imposed new laws for the ownership of Coydogs and Wolf hybrids. The State of Indiana increased the punishment and added animals under the domestic violence statutes.

2008: Hamilton County Board of Commissioners enacted a No Fee Breeders Permit to enforce mandatory Spay and Neuter of domestic Pets. Hamilton County Board of Commissioners placed restrictions on housekeeping of any household that harbors more than three dogs or more than three cats.

Under the provisions of the Hamilton County Ordinance: Any person owning or having custody of a dog or cat which is older than six months of age, which has not been sterilized and for which the person owning or having custody of such an animal does not have a written certification from a licensed veterinarian stating that it is not in such animal’s best medical interest to be sterilized, but in no case after the dog or cat has attained the age of nine months. If the animal is older than 9 months of age and is not spayed or neutered a breeder’s permit is required.

Procedures for obtaining a Breeder’s Permit:

1. Obtain the form online or from the Sheriff’s Department or Hamilton County Humane Society.

2. Fill out all information and submit the form to the Address or E-mail specified. You will receive your approval or disapproval within 10 business days.

3. Special note should be taken Livestock (e.g. Horses, Cows, Pigs, Sheep and Goats) are governed by Zoning Laws. Consult your local zoning office for requirements. Horses and Cattle do not require physical shelters but do require a wind break.

Low Cost Vet Care Options



Emergency Vet Services

VCA, Northwood—Open 24 Hours

3255 North State Road 9 Anderson, IN 46012

Phone: (765) 649-5218

VCA, West 86th Street–Open 24 Hours

4030 W 86th St Indianapolis, IN 46268

Phone: (317) 872-0200

VCA, Indianapolis Veterinary Specialists/Animal Emergency Center--Open 24 Hours

(Located West of I69 Behind Arby’s) 7712 CrossPointe Commons Fishers, IN 46038

Phone: (317) 578-4100

Noah’s Animal Hospital 24 Hour Emergency Center

5510 Millersville Road Indianapolis, IN 46226

Website: www.NoahsHospitals.com

Phone: (317) 253-1327

Pet Friendly Rentals

J.C. Hart Company is the most pet-friendly company across the board when it comes to bread and size restrictions. In and around Hamilton County, J.C. Hart has 11 properties. Here are those properties listed:






Other Pet Friendly Rentals:

  • Broad Ripple Trails: (317) 253-6694 (No breed/weight restrictions) – Indianapolis
  • Woods of Brittan: (317) 770-0700 (No breed restrictions/35lb weight limit) – Westfield

Pit Bull Education

Did you know that there are more pit bulls waiting for homes and dying in shelters across the United States than any other breed? Many shelters will not even give pit bulls a chance to find a home—they are automatically euthanized.

The Humane Society for Hamilton County is proud to be a shelter that does not discriminate against pit bulls or any other breed of dog.  We believe every individual dog should be judged based on his or her temperament and actions.  The truth is, pit bulls are really fantastic dogs who make excellent pets.  They’re not for everyone, just as Labrador Retrievers may not be for everyone.  


But the breed is inherently very good with people, especially kids, and full of charisma and personality.  Information regarding Pit Bulls, their history, and why they are perceived so negatively today is available here.

Even with the negative perception of pit bulls, they remain one of the most popular breeds in the country. Unfortunately, they are not always popular with responsible pet owners who have selected thebreed for the right reasons. As a result, many pit bulls and pit mixes are finding themselves sitting in shelters—homeless, unwanted, abused or victims of breed specific restrictions.

The Humane Society for Hamilton County has so many wonderful pit bulls and pit mixes waiting for homes that we we’ve created our Pit Bull Angel Program designed to recognize those in the community who adopt, foster and financially support the care of the Pit Bulls and Pit mixes in our care. As a Pit Bull Angel, you’re a part of a very special group of people who are dedicated to restoring the reputation of this extraordinary breed and giving them the chance they deserve.

To foster a Pit Bull in need email fosters@hamiltonhumane.com.

To see a list of available dogs, go to our Pet List

To sponsor the care of a Pit Bull, please make your tax deductible donation here.



All pets adopted from us are already microchipped.

The statistics indicate that missing pets rarely make it home:

• The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year.

• One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

We also can microchip your cat or dog for just $30.  No appointment necessary!

A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, including 53 animal shelters across the U.S., confirmed the high rate of return of microchipped dogs and cats to their families, and the importance of microchip registration. From the study:

  • Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase).
  • Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats was dramatically higher at over 38 percent (more than 2000 percent better).
  • Only 58 percent of the microchipped animals’ microchips had been registered in a database with their pet parent’s contact information.
  • High-tech protection can prevent heartbreak.
  • Enter the pet microchip — a simple, elegant product of our high-tech age. No bigger than a grain of rice or more costly than a month’s supply of pet food, a pet microchip and enrollment in a pet recovery database brings lost pets home and provides peace of mind that your beloved companion will never wander unknown.
  • Veterinarians encourage microchipping.
  • And with good reason—microchipping substantially increases the likelihood of a pet returning home by offering secure, reliable, unique and permanent identification.

Report Animal Abuse or Neglect

If you observe any animal you believe is not receiving proper care, contact Hamilton County Sherriff’s Department-Animal Control (317) 773-1282.

Guidelines for reporting abuse:

  • Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Officers conduct investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect and are not generally available for emergency response. If an animal is in need of immediate assistance, please call your local animal control or police agency
  • Complaints regarding barking dogs, animals at large, or animal bites should be directed to your local animal control agency.

Police Departments/Animal Control Agencies:

Arcadia (317) 984-5662
Atlanta (317) 773-1282
Carmel (317) 571-2580
Cicero (317) 984-3648
Fishers (317) 773-1282
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department (317) 773-1282
Indianapolis Animal Care & Control (317) 327-1397
Lawrence (317) 545-7575
Noblesville (317) 776-6356
Westfield (317) 773-1300


Why Spay/Neuter?

Each year, an estimated 4-6 million animals are euthanized in shelters. Millions more die by injury, poisoning, exposure, starvation, and disease. Most of these victims are the unwanted offspring of family pets. Not spaying or neutering your pet comes at great cost, including the estimated $2 million spent by U.S. taxpayers each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. Only you can stop the suffering that results from pet overpopulation. Spay or neuter your pet today.

Why should you spay (female animal) or neuter (male animal)?

1. Peace of Mind. A spayed or neutered (sterilized) animal is better behaved:

Males – Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unsterilized, unsupervised males roam in search of a mate, risking injury in traffic and in fights with other males. They mark territory by spraying strong-smelling urine on surfaces. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting furniture and human legs when stimulated. Don’t confuse aggressiveness with protectiveness; a neutered dog protects his home and family just as well as an unneutered dog, and many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering

Females – While their cycles vary greatly, most female cats exhibit the following signs when in heat. For four or five days, every three weeks, they yowl and urinate more frequently – sometimes all over the house – advertising for mates. Often, they attract unneutered males who spray urine around the females’ home. Female dogs in heat also attract males from great distances. Female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and can conceive for another week or so.*

2. Good Medicine. A spayed or neutered animal will live a longer, healthier life:

– Spaying a female (removing the ovaries and uterus) or neutering a male (removing the testicles) are veterinary procedures with the same general anesthesia used in human medicine. Both surgeries usually require minimal hospitalization.

– Neutering a male cat or dog by six months of age prevents testicular cancer, prostate disease and hernias. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (a pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer; having this done before the first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics and spaying. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and 90 percent of female cats.

With an older, seriously ill animal, anesthesia and surgery are complicated and costly.*

3. Responsible Care. You can help prevent the suffering and death of millions of animals:

– Conservative estimates state that every spay/neuter prevents on the average four unwanted births in each of the next three years. Almost everyone loves puppies and kittens, but some people lose interest when these animals grow up. As a result, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. Rarely surviving for more than a few years on their own, strays die painfully by starvation, disease, freezing or being hit by cars.*

4. It is MANDATORY in Hamilton County. Anyone residing in Hamilton County that chooses to not spay or neuter their pet must complete and submit a Breeders Permit Application. The application is available at the Humane Society for Hamilton County or can be accessed by clicking here.

Surrendering a Pet

It is very hard for pets who are surrendered by their owners to adjust to a shelter environment. The comfort of home is all they’ve ever known, so they often become depressed and can even become aggressive. For the well being of your pet, surrendering him or her to a shelter should be an absolute last resort.

Because we are almost always at capacity, we ask that you put forth every possible effort to find a home for your pet. Contacting rescue groups, friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members may be options if you can no longer keep or care for your pet.

Getting a pet you cannot keep into a rescue is always a better alternative to surrendering them to a shelter. Most rescues keep pets in a foster home until they can be placed permanently so they don’t have to deal with the stressful environment of living in a kennel or risk exposure to illness or disease that is unavoidable in an animal shelter. A list of breed specific rescue groups and other rescue organizations is available at the link below.

*For a list of breed specific rescue organizations, click here.

Things to Consider BEFORE Surrendering a Pet

Even though HSHC does not euthanize animals for time or space, and we treat any medical condition that can be managed giving the animal a good quality of life, it does not mean your pet couldn’t end up being euthanized or losing his or her will to live.  Pets who are surrendered are more susceptible to illness and depression.  They grieve the loss of their families and often stop eating or contract an upper respiratory infection.   Senior pets are in the most danger of falling ill or giving up.   And while we will most certainly treat them for any illness they contract, whether or not they overcome it is often up to the state of their emotional well-being.

Below are some possible resources, alternatives and points to consider before you surrendering your pet:

1. Behavior concerns.  For behavior questions/concerns, please contact our Behavior Specialist at (317) 219-3342 or email behavior@hamiltonhumane.com.  Please allow 48 business hours for a response due to the volume of calls and emails we receive.
  • Dogs who are suddenly reactive or even aggressive to other dogs or cats in the home or in public
  • Separation anxiety
  • Basic obedience challenges (house and crate training, jumping up on people, marking, leash manners—too hard to walk)
  • Excessive barking
  • Fearful of new people/strangers
  • Dominance over children, adults or other pets in the home
  • Jealousy
  • Cats or dogs who constantly try to “bolt”
  • Cats urinating outside the litter box/marking
  • Cats who are suddenly reactive or aggressive with other cats or dogs in the home.
2. Health and General Care.  We realize vet care and even basic care can be very expensive if you have fallen on hard times.  If your pet is in need of medical care that you cannot afford, please call us at (317) 773-4974 to see if we can direct you to a lower cost or alternative solution to surrendering your pet.  We usually have general pet supplies we can provide those in need.  HSHC also partners with Good Samaritan of Hamilton County to provide FREE pet food to those in need.  For contact information and to make arrangements to pick up pet food, visit www.gsnlive.org.
3. Allergies.  While it is not uncommon for an individual to be allergic to cats and dogs, they are not always the culprit when it comes to irritated eyes, sinuses and itchy skin.   Every spring and summer when the pollen count begins to rise, we see an influx of animals surrendered due to allergies.  We find many family doctors and pet owners automatically jump to the conclusion that pets are to blame for allergies without doing the proper testing or considering seasonal allergies.  A simple blood test can determine if you are allergic to pet dander.  We encourage you to take that step before assuming the pet you’ve lived with for all these years is now the cause of your sniffles.  There are numerous over the counter options to help control allergy symptoms as well.   Here are some additional pointers on how to help control pet related allergies:  www.webmd.com/allergies/features/how-pets-allergies-can-go-hand-in-paw.
4. New baby.   We are constantly amazed by the number of dogs and cats who are surrendered not only when the new baby arrives, but sometimes when they get the news!  For many couples, they assume a baby cannot safely co-exist with a pet.  Not so!  While there are certainly dogs, and cats for that matter, who would not be appropriate for young children, we urge you to speak with us regarding your pet’s temperament so we can help you determine if they would be suitable and how to do a proper introduction.  Check out these very interesting articles regarding pets and babies!     




5. We’re moving.   According to the 2011 Census, Americans move 11. 7 times in their lives.  The average life span of a dog or cat depending is around 10 years.  This means your pet is depending on you to take him or her with you every single time life takes you in a new direction.  In fact, their lives depend on it.  Surrendering your pet, especially an older one, is very hard on them both physically and emotionally.  And if you take them to a kill shelter, it is very possible they won’t survive.  There are countless options for rental properties that allow pets, and those who have no breed or size restrictions (click here to see a list of Pet Friendly rentals).  And while there may be some pet rent or a deposit to pay, isn’t that part of the lifelong commitment you made to your loyal companion? The price they may end up paying is far greater.  Please, before you sign a lease, make sure you have confirmed that your pet is welcome too.
6. I don’t have enough time.   “I’m traveling more with my job.”  “I’m so busy with the kids.”  “It’s just not fair to our dog to leave him at home for 10 hours a day.”  “He’ll be so much better off here at the shelter than alone at home.”  Trust me, if your dog could talk, he would say, “I DON’T MIND BEING AT HOME FOR 10 HOURS!  Please don’t leave me here!”   Think about it.  As long as your dog is getting companionship after your work day, they are loved and getting the care they need, why in the world would they be better off sitting in a 4X4 cage in a shelter where they are exposed to illness, they will get depressed, and may wait months for a home?  If you’re traveling or busy with the kids, what about a doggy daycare facility or an in-home pet sitter?  There are numerous, reasonably priced pet sitters we can refer you to who will come to your home and walk your dog and care for them if you are gone overnight.  If you really want to keep your pet, there is a way.  We are here to help you find the best possible solution.

Owner Release Fees & Information

HSHC only accepts pets surrendered (Owner Releases) from residents of Hamilton County. If you would like to surrender your pet, we ask that you contact us at (317) 773-4974 to make arrangements. Be sure to come prepared with vaccination records to help expedite the processing of your pet.  Please note we do not accept Owner Released/Surrendered Pets on Saturdays or Sundays after 11:30 a.m.  

If you reside within Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, Carmel or the jurisdiction of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, there is no fee to surrender your pet.  Pet owners who want to surrender their pets who live in Cicero, Arcadia, Sheridan or Atlanta may be asked to pay a fee since those areas have chosen not to participate in the county contract for us to provide animal control services or they do on a limited basis.  The cost to surrender your pet is $160.

Please note that the HSHC reserves the right to NOT accept an owner released pet from those residing in a non-participating municipality (Cicero, Sheridan, Atlanta or Aracdia) when the shelter is at capacity.

NOTE: If an animal has been in your possession for 30 days or more, by law, that animal belongs to you and is considered an “Owner Release”.

Return to Owner Fees

The HSHC requires a $45.00 fee per animal for the return of lost pets to their owners. Please note a $10 per day boarding fee applies for each day the animal is housed after the first day he or she arrives. Boarding Fees & Animal Quarantine The HSHC reserves the right to charge a $10.00 per day fee to maintain any animal brought in by animal control under quarantine conditions or any other circumstance where the owner is in default of their adoption contract or county ordinances pertaining to domestic animals. This fee will be charged to the owner prior to release of the animal when and if a return is deemed appropriate.

If a pet owner chooses to have their pet euthanized at the end of the quarantine period OR euthanasia has been court ordered, an additional $45.00 fee per animal for euthanasia and disposal will apply and is required when the animal is dropped off for quarantine. The HSHC will not invoice individuals for boarding, euthanasia or disposal fees. Payment is required upon drop off.

Training & Behavior Support

We offer a wide range of services to help resolve pet behavior issues. If you have a finicky feline or a problemed pooch, help is available online, over the phone, and in person.

Here are a few of the more common issues we hear about, and some tools to help you:

Solving Common Dog Behavior Problems

For help with solving cat behavior questions/concerns, please contact our Behavior Specialist at (317) 219-3342 or email behavior@hamiltonhumane.com.  

Solving Common Cat Behavior Problems


For more one-on-one training support, contact one of our wonderful sponsors:

Paws and Play

15150 Herriman Boulevard, Suite A

Noblesville, IN 46060

(317) 776-7824


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