Laura Ariel, her staff, and a cadre of volunteers are working hard to make positive and lasting changes to the Vincennes Animal Shelter. Since taking over the director’s job in January, Ariel has worked to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all of the shelter’s animals. The hard work is getting animals adopted when more come in every week.
“We average about 30 adoptions a month,” Ariel said. “In May, we got 40. I’d like to get upwards of 60 a month — two a day if possible. With our image changing, I think we can do that.”
Ariel’s energy seems to be infectious. Staff members and volunteers seem as cheerful and energetic as she. All are there because they care.
“Most of us are a bunch of moms who love animals and who love keeping things clean and tidy,” she said. It is $110 to adopt a dog or any breed or variety, and $80 to adopt a cat, no
matter the age. There is an application and screening process. All animals are either spayed or neutered, and all are embedded with an identifying micro-chip registering it with the city of Vincennes for life.
The shelter also partners with the company Pet Point — an online database which provides $750 worth of pet insurance — to adopted owners free for 30 days.
“We work hard to ensure that a person gets a healthy animal,” Ariel said. “We test cats and dogs much more than we used to. But there is no guarantee.” So much effort is going into adoptions because the shelter itself it a bit beyond its capacity of 75 animals; in early June the numbers were in the 120s.
“In some cases we have two dogs in one cage and we don’t want that,” she said. “So we have to be cautious.” The Vincennes Animal Shelter — at one time known as the “Pet Port” — is a “no kill” shelter, a designation it has had for the past eight years. While animals are not put down after being held seven days, it is inaccurate to think that no animal is ever put down.
There are times when a severely aggressive animal, even after repeated attempts at rehabilitation, cannot be changed. Dangerous animals are never put up for adoption. Sometimes there are animals that are severely ill, and there are some that are old and suffering.