Permanent home for pets HSPC goal

Saturday, October 16, 2010
Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK Humane Society of Putnam County Executive Director Lynelle Cullen holds 12-week-old spaniel mix "Hanzel" at one of the shelter's outdoor kennels. Cullen said there were 171 adoptions from the shelter this year, but all the remaining 35 dogs and cats there are deserving of homes. "We don't have a lot of kennel space, but right now we're almost full," she said.

GREENCASTLE -- Cayla Burnett met Molly, a 2-year-old long-haired dachshund, at the Humane Society of Putnam County in July.

Ever since their first meeting, it was love, Burnett said.

"When I saw her walk across the floor, I thought, 'This is it,'" Burnett said.

While her husband Tom originally said they didn't need a dog, Cayla said one look was all it took.

"She's daddy girl," she said. "Now she's got him wrapped around her paw. ... She's the queen of the yard, the house, the neighbors."

Molly was just one of the 171 adoptions from the shelter this year.

In 2009, 700 animals were admitted to the shelter, 65 percent of which were adopted. The average length of stay at the shelter was 38 days; cats remained 1.5 to twice as long as dogs, according to the shelter's July newsletter.

While Lynelle Cullen, the executive director of the Humane Society of Putnam County, would like to see a 100 percent adoption rate, she wants to make sure animals are placed in a home that's a good fit for both the owner and the pet.

"We want to get them adopted into good homes, but we want them to be forever homes," she said. "We don't want someone to adopt one of our animals and then give the animal away or give the animal back. It's stressful on the animal, and a lot of them have been through a lot already. We just want to make sure they have the best life possible when they leave here."

To celebrate October as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, the shelter is taking 25 percent off the cost of dogs and cats. Smaller dogs and puppies are $135 while larger dogs are $115.

"The adoption process is really simple," she said. "Our main priority is making sure that we send the right dog home with the right people and that dog is going to fit into their home and be a good thing and not be stressful for the dog or the family."

Potential adopters have to fill out an application that asks what animals they have currently in the household, if they've adopted from a shelter before, what kind of property they have, and, if they rent, if it's OK with the landlord to have pets.

Before animals at the shelter are able to go home with an adoptive family, pets are implanted with a microchip for insurance of safe return in case of loss and are given needed vaccinations or tests for parasites. All animals from the shelter are neutered or spayed, and all are treated for injuries or illnesses to the best of the shelter's financial abilities, Cullen said.

"A lot of people don't like coming to the shelter," she said. "They think it's a really sad, depressing place or they just want to take them all, but it's a good way for those people to see the animals we have and know (the animals) aren't sad or unhappy or stressed."

Cullen said size, age, lifestyle and living situation are important considerations to keep in mind before adopting a dog from the shelter.

"Sit down as a family and discuss what you're looking for and how much time you're willing to put into the dog. Are they willing to take the dog for walks? Do they want a jogging partner, or do they simply want a dog to curl up with them at night?"

Cullen said it's also important for the dogs to be visible in the community so potential adopters can have a chance to "meet and greet" with them.

Dogs from the shelter visit Greencastle's Farmers' Market two Saturday mornings per month. One Saturday each month, dogs and cats are available at PetSmart in Plainfield, and on various occasions, shelter animals can be seen at Tractor Supply in Greencastle, according to the shelter's website. There will also be an open house fundraiser at Autumn Glen Oct. 23 along with two other appearances there, Cullen said.

Animals will be available for adoption Saturday at Kroger in Greencastle and will be making an appearance at Relay for Life Oct. 30, she said.

How to volunteer:

Contact or call the shelter at 653-5739 for available volunteer opportunities.

The shelter also participates in Canine Express, an all-volunteer project that transports dogs from shelters in Indiana to New England, where they can accept dogs from other areas for adoption.

Transports leave Indiana for New England monthly, and volunteers are always needed, according to the shelter's website.

For more information on this program, go to

Dog training:

The shelter works with two trainers to help new pet families. Each session is six weeks in length and is available to all dogs at least 8 weeks of age. The cost of each session is $75 per dog or $50 if the dog was adopted from the Putnam County shelter.

For further information or registration, call the shelter at 653-5739 or e-mail at

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  • Finally, a good news story !

    -- Posted by undercoverbrother on Sat, Oct 16, 2010, at 6:58 AM
  • so did the shelter ever get to the bottom of their missing finances?

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Sat, Oct 16, 2010, at 5:28 PM
  • it is so clean and bright out there now- the employees make it as nice as they can for these animals- please go take a look and volunteer or donate!

    -- Posted by talkymom3 on Sat, Oct 16, 2010, at 9:50 PM
  • Great story, Topical and responsible to our local community. I had almost completely given up on this papers staff to write a good story about actual local events and its local people.

    Thank you Ms. Amanda Junk.

    -- Posted by lindam7766 on Sun, Oct 17, 2010, at 7:18 AM
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