The Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia aims to stop overcrowding at animal shelters and reduce euthanasia in Indianapolis. “We’re not really a shelter,” says Jen Hanckock, Executive Director of FACE. “We’re dedicated to keeping animals out of shelters.”
Anyone who knows the area would see this as a challenge, but they think they can do it.
Too Many Animals, Not Enough Space
More than 22,000 animals—many former and potential pets while others were neighborhood strays—were being put down every year at the city’s only open-intake shelter. There were simply too many animals and not enough space.
Many local organizations focused on adoption events, but FACE saw an additional opportunity: stop overpopulation before it begins with affordable spay-neuter services for cats and dogs.
In 1999, they opened their contributor-funded facility and began offering spaying and neutering services for as low as $20.
The idea and results were so successful FACE has been able to double their space and do up to 75 procedures a day—saving tens of thousands of lives. “We now see a lot of clients from the east and south sides of Indianapolis and beyond,” says Jen. “Some people will drive an hour or more to get here.”
That’s because, in addition to spaying and neutering pets, FACE provides low-cost vaccinations and basic wellness services. How low is low? “Our prices are about 50 to 80 percent lower than traditional veterinary services,” Jen says. Services like these help families keep their pets in the home and out of the shelters.
PetSmart Charities Grant Provides Vital Funding
A grant from PetSmart Charities helps FACE’s work keep going. A few years ago, FACE was part of a mega-adoption event with 25 area rescue groups. “Almost 800 pets found homes,” Jen says. “And we partnered with PetSmart Charities during that event. We’re delighted and honored to be part of the Charities family.”
The PetSmart Charities grant money is used for FACE’s ongoing spay-neuter programs, which have expanded to include Community Cats, their feral cat program. “We’ve had many feral cats that, with a little love and patience, turn out to be the sweetest house pets,” Jen says. “The ones that can’t be reformed are sent back out, after we make sure they won’t be having many litters of kittens that end up on the euthanasia list.”
Though they aren’t officially a shelter, FACE inevitably started taking in various cats and dogs to keep them out of shelters without resources to find homes for them.
“My favorite is Arlo,” Jen says of a sweet mixed breed dog with soft floppy ear tips and hopeful eyes. “We don’t know what happened to him, but he’s very cautious around people. When he gets to know you, he is the sweetest dog, but his initial shyness hasn’t helped him find a home. He’s been with us for three years now, and we’re still hoping to find his unicorn parents.”
There are still too many animals in shelters, but FACE is doing what they can to meet the goal of a no-kill Indianapolis, no matter what. Because, as Jen knows, every life counts: “Arlo wouldn’t be alive if not for the contributions people make, so we can keep him while we keep looking for his forever home.”