2,989 animals sheltered, 82% from Vanderburgh County

VHS is an open-admission shelter, which means we do not turn away any owner-surrendered animals. People do not have to live in Vanderburgh County/Evansville to surrender an animal or use almost ANY of our services (excluding the Pit Stop program.) We are one of the largest animal welfare agencies in the entire Tri-State. We pride ourselves on being open-admission and on the standard of care we provide. We accept owner-surrendered animals, stray animals as space allows, and we also transfer in animals from other local shelters who are full as often as we can. (Mainly dogs.) We accept any type of domestic animal with the exception of horses & cows due to lack of housing. This includes not just dogs, cats, and rabbits, but also reptiles, pocket pets & rodents, birds, pigs, goats, and even hermit crabs.
438 Euthanized/Died

This is always a hard number for people to read. But we are open about our practices and why euthanasia still happens. There are still animals who arrive at shelters with severe, life-threatening diseases. There are also incoming animals with behavior or aggression problems that would be considered unsafe in almost any home, much less one with young children. We are not a “no-kill” shelter and we do not claim to be. It’s a misleading and often overused term in the animal welfare world.

In 2016:

– 34 animals died (all of these were very young, sick kittens)

– 404 animals were euthanized: 150 for aggression/behavior, and 254 for severe health issues.
In 2008, the first full year after our Low-Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic opened, we had to euthanize 1,804 animals. This is a pretty heartbreaking number, and it was pretty typical of most other years prior to that. But look at how euthanasia rates have changed since then:

2009: 1,951 (more animals taken in than in 2008)

2010: 1,382                

2011: 1,338

2012: 1,034

2013: 780

2014: 548

2015: 458
2016: 404 (438 less 34 who died naturally)
We have decreased euthanasia by 78% since our Spay & Neuter Clinic opened!!


This is an astronomical accomplishment, and there are almost no other contributing factors. Although other animal welfare agencies have appeared recently, they do not affect our intake or euthanasia numbers. For example:

  • Another Chance for Animals pulls exclusively from Evansville Animal Control. The only affiliation.
  • It Takes a Village Canine Rescue deals with dogs only, whereas 2/3 of the animals we deal with are cats. Plus, while ITV occasionally rescues local dogs, many of theirs come from trips out-of-state to go acquire dogs from other shelters in states like Alabama. Many groups like ITV, PC Pound Puppies, and others also warehouse dogs for years upon years just for the sake of “life at any cost” without evaluating their behavior the way we do.
  • Other counties’ agencies, such as Posey Humane Society, Warrick Humane Society,  PAAWS, and Gibson County Animal Services have significantly smaller capacities. In fact, we have transferred animals in TO our facility from almost all of these agencies including the “no-kill” ones recently because of our adoption success and extra space.


In a perfect world, no animal would have to be euthanized. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Every single animal that was euthanized was an individual. Every single one had a name and a story. And every single one received love and equal care during their time with us, however long that was. What’s important to remember is that we need to tackle these problems in our community at the source:

– socialization, obedience, & behavior training for all puppies beginning at a young age, no matter where they come from, and their owners

– spay & neuter to prevent overpopulation and genetic health & behavior problems
– enforcement of current Vanderburgh County ordinances that require a breeder’s license and a limit on number of animals per household

– responsible ownership, including providing regular vet care for the duration of the pet’s life


Many local shelters & rescues work collaboratively together toward these goals along with the Evansville Police Department, a lawyer, and a local veterinarian through EPAW, the Evansville Partnership for Animal Welfare.


227 Transferred Out

These are animals that we sent to other facilities who had more space. The vast majority of these are cats who went to less-crowded shelters in Chicago. We continue to struggle with overcrowding of cats every year at VHS.


103 Reclaimed by Owner

These are animals who were lost and came to the VHS as strays, and their owners were able to reunite with them. Many of these were due to microchips and/or collars with up-to-date tags. Microchipping is offered every Saturday at our Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic at 8:00 am for $25.
29,101 Doses of Medication Given

This includes flea/tick prevention, medications for common conditions like infections or wounds, ear mite treatment, etc. as well as more significant medications for illnesses or injuries.


25 Dogs Treated for Heartworms

Heartworm treatment costs an average of $250 for one adoptable shelter dog. It’s a significant expense that VHS incurs, and that cost is never passed on to adopters. The public can make a donation specifically to the Maxine Fund at to help us treat heartworm-positive dogs in 2017.


496 Animals Benefited from Foster Care

Our foster care program serves a variety of animals. These include:

– unweaned puppies & kittens

– sick or injured animals

– undersocialized animals

– animals who are severely stressed in the shelter environment

– pets enrolled in the Safe Pets program for domestic violence victims (see below)


The public can find information about fostering a pet in need at


17 FIV+ Cats Adopted

For many years, being positive for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) was a death sentence for shelter cats. Now we have much more knowledge about this disease, and we can put positive cats up for adoption. Many cats live long, happy, healthy lives with FIV, and can even live with cats who are negative!


19 Pets Housed through Safe Pets

This program is designed to provide a resource for pets belonging to people fleeing domestic violence situations. We work closely with human agencies such as Albion Fellows Bacon Center and the YWCA. For information on this program, visit or call (812) 426-2563 extension 220.


250+ participants, 1,000+ hours through Cardio For Canines

The VHS’ newest program began last June and has exploded in popularity! Anyone can come walk or run with a shelter dog at Garvin Park on Saturday mornings from 8:00-9:30 am. For additional details about CFC, visit them on Facebook at on Instagram at @cardioforcanines.
Davidson Rausch Low-Cost Spay & Neuter/Vaccine Clinic

Our Clinic is celebrating its 10th birthday this summer! Since that time, we have altered more than 58,000 local animals. Spay & neuter is the only permanent solution to overpopulation, and we are making a drastic impact in our community through the Clinic.

Our Pit Stop Program focuses on spaying/neutering pit bull-type dogs in Vanderburgh County at no cost to their owners. 49 pit bull-type dogs were fixed in 2016. By reducing the number of unaltered dogs like these running the streets, we can greatly improve their chances of survival in shelters, keep our communities safer, and eventually eliminate the negative stereotypes that these wonderful dogs face in the media.


We also provide surgeries for 15 other agencies in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey, Perry, and Hancock counties in Indiana; and Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, & Daviess counties in Kentucky.

Humane Education

Part of our mission is to provide humane education to the public so we can tackle our community’s animal-related issues at the source. We provide programs for people of all ages and abilities through our Humane Education Department. Program topics include responsible pet ownership, dog bite prevention, and many others. Those would wish to inquire about setting up a program or tour for a school/preschool, Scout troop, church group, or business, should call (812) 426-5263 extension 206.
More than 12,000 lbs. of pet food served to ~395 families through Emergency Pet Food Assistance

Our pet food bank is there for low-income pet owners who are temporarily having a hard time making ends meet. Rather than having to relinquish their pets to a shelter, programs like this help ensure that more pets can stay in their homes until their families get back on their feet. Food assistance operates twice monthly, on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month (excluding major holidays) from 12:00-3:00 in the rear lobby. A driver’s license must be provided, and preference is given to those whose pets are spayed or neutered.


60th Anniversary
In 2017, the Vanderburgh Humane Society will celebrate its 60th anniversary as an organization. This would not have been possible without decades of support from right here in the Evansville community. VHS encourages the public to help mark this significant milestone by making a tax-deductible donation at, or by calling (812) 426-2563 to find out how to get involved. Donors, volunteers, adopters, and fosters are always needed. A celebratory ice cream social event will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at the shelter and is open & free to the public.





  1. All of the tri-state area should be proud of VHS and should support their good works. They do amazing things!


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