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Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I Lost a pet. What do I do?

  • Contact all local shelters and animal control.

    • City of Columbus Animal Control             812-376-2505

    • Bartholomew Co. Humane Society          812-372-6063

  • Post on lost pet social media sites (Facebook, next-door).

  • Search the area your animal went missing and invite friends/family/neighbors to help search.

  • Post pictures and contact information in case someone else finds your animal.

2.  I Found a pet. What do I do?

  • Contact animal control for pick up.

    • City of Columbus Animal Control 812-376-2505

    • After Hours 812-379-1689

    • Bartholomew County Animal Control 812-372-1935

3.  What animals are at the shelter?

  • We mainly care for dogs and cats (available animals are shown on our home page)

  • Occasionally we shelter rabbits, small mammals, or farm animals.

4.  What are your adoption fees?

  • Our regular fees are $120 per dog and $80 per cat. This fee helps cover all age-appropriate vaccinations, spay or neuter, testing, preventatives, and microchipping.

  • There are some pets who have Legacy Pricing.  They are usually young, purebred animals who can leave a financial legacy to help other pets needing extraordinary care who remain at the shelter.

5.  What is the adoption process?

  • Fill out application online - It is our job to set our animals up for success and we take that job very seriously. We want to make sure we find you the right pet to fit into your family. The application will help us pair you with your new furry friend.

  • Schedule an appointment. Our shelter works by appointment to allow our team to focus on you and meeting your new pet. You may come in to meet a specific pet or speak to our team to look at everyone. We encourage the whole family to come and may request that you bring your dog too, if you are adopting a dog from the shelter! We want to help ensure your new pet will get along with your current pets and family members, let us know who is coming to visit when you schedule your appointment, and we will accommodate you appropriately.

  • Same Day Adoptions or Foster to Adopt- Most of our animals are able to go home the same day, but some are awaiting veterinary treatments or surgery appointments. They may still be able to go with you, they will just need to return to the shelter for treatment or surgery. Sometimes, successive appointments will be needed for dog meet/greet dates or allow for our pets to warm up to new people! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help you succeed!

6.  What kinds of items do I need for my new pet?

  • Dog: food, toys, water, bed, leash, collar, poop bags, treats, crate

  • Cat: food, toys, water, bed, breakaway collar, litter box, litter, litter scoop, treats, cat carrier

7.  What is a Microchip? Should I microchip my pet?

  • Identification tags are the most efficient means of identifying your pet and everyone can read the information and call the number immediately, but they can get lost or damaged.  Microchipping is a more permanent way to identify your pet, but the finder must take the pet somewhere to be scanned. It’s a safe and secure way of returning your missing pet to you quickly.

  • It’s a small, rice-shaped device that goes under your pet's skin by their neck and shoulders, that can be read by a scanner, and when properly registered in a database, can allow anyone who finds your pet to return it to you!

  • We can microchip your pet and register the microchip for you.

    • Fee $20

8.  What should I know about spay/neuter?

  • All of our animals are spayed or neutered before they are adopted.

  • Why should I spay/neuter my pet?

    • Fixing your pet helps keep shelter populations down by preventing unwanted litters, can prevent some forms of cancer from occurring and may help eliminate some behavior issues. The best way to keep animals safe, happy, and healthy is to spay/neuter.

  • We can help facilitate a low cost spay or neuter for your pet. Please call our shelter at 812-372-6063 or email for more information.

  • Requirements for Spay/Neuter – your pet must be at least 8 weeks old and weigh at least 2 pounds. Animals older than 3 mos. must also be current on rabies vaccinations or those will be given at the time of surgery.

  • Fees: low-cost fees run from $40 to $75 for spay/neuter surgery, $20 for rabies vaccination.

    • There are vouchers to help pay for spay and neuter for your pet.

    • Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) offers income-qualified pet owners a voucher that makes the cost per surgery $25.

    • Visit for more information.

    • Our office may have vouchers available so ask us when you call or email!

9.  What should I feed my pet?

  • Check with your vet to verify the food is the right kind for your pet.

10. I need help feeding my pet, can BCHS help?

  • Yes! BCHS offers Thor’s Pet Pantry to supplement families in need with food, litter, and supplies for their animals.

  • You will need to bring your ID to register for assistance at the shelter, there is no charge for the supplies, you will be able to receive supplies once each month.  We will help you get your pets fixed to prevent future litters!

11. I need help paying for extraordinary medical care for my pet, can BCHS help me?

  • BCHS may have funding available to assist in emergency or extraordinary care, call or email our shelter for more information.

12. Should I train my pet? Who do you recommend?

  • Training is an important part of adopting a pet. Even well-trained pets will need continued reinforcement to make sure they don’t lose their good manners. Training will help your pet adjust to their new home.

  • Who do we suggest - We partner with Dog World and Hot Diggity Dog Training to help our current shelter residents and foster dogs.

13. Should I declaw my cat?

  • NO! The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discourage declawing. AAFP states that declawing is at best ethically controversial and is not medically necessary for cats in most instances.

  • Declawing a cat is dangerous and becoming less and less popular as we discover more about it. Declawing a cat is like taking off a finger at the knuckle. It is painful and can cause health and behavior problems in the future. Health problems can include paw and back pain, tissue damage, infection, nerve damage and bone spurs. Behavior problems can result from your cat being in pain, including nervousness, irritability, and avoidance of touch. Claws are your cat’s first defense if they are ever in danger. Even house cats can get out and they would be completely unprotected without their claws.

  • There is no medical need to declaw a cat and plenty of options to help you keep your cat from clawing your furniture.

    • A variety of appropriate scratching posts. (Use catnip to entice them)

    • Trimming nails (we can show you how!)

    • Redirect undesired scratching.

14. How can I volunteer with BCHS?

  • Click the Get Involved tab to get started!

15. How can I foster animals for BCHS?

  • Click the Get Involved tab to get started!

16. Are you a no-kill shelter?

  • Our shelter does not euthanize for time or space. We do perform euthanasia when we are not able to provide The 5 Freedoms to an animal, such as extraordinary medical conditions or significant behavior concerns with dogs.

17. How long do you keep animals?

  • There is no set time limit! We hold healthy, adoptable animals until we find them homes.

18. How can I donate?

  • Click Ways to Give tab to get started!

19. What is TNR?

  • TNR stands for Trap-Neuter-Return. This program humanely traps community cats, evaluates their physical condition and if appropriate, fixes them and they are returned to their “territory.”  Over time, the number of community cats will be reduced!

  • If you have a feral or community cat, please contact our shelter for additional information. We can help with traps and surgery costs.

20. How long do you hold found animals?

  • Stray pets are held for 5 days (county ordinance requires 72 hr. hold) while we search for an owner. During that time: we scan for a microchip, post information on social media, and check with the other local shelter. If the owner is not found, we move forward with opportunities such as transfer to other rescues and adoption.

  • If an owner surrenders their pet, there is no required holding period.

21. How can I pay for fees?

  • We accept cash, check, and credit cards for payment.

22. How long should I give my pet to adjust?

  • Change is scary, giving your new pet adequate time to adjust is important. All pets adapt at different rates, but we use the 3/3/3 rule.

    • 3 days - Your pet is feeling overwhelmed, scared and unsure. They may want to hide, or they may test boundaries.

    • 3 weeks - Your pet is starting to settle into the new routine. They will start to let their guard down and will start to show their true personality.

    • 3 months - Your pet is comfortable in their new home. Their trust and bond with you grow and their routine is set.

  • Training and positive reinforcement go a long way into making this transition easier for you and your pet.

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