Inaugural Indiana Animal Welfare Conference

Saturday, June 9th, at the Primo Banquet Center in Indianapolis.

Why host a statewide conference? Because many of our partnering rescue groups and shelters don’t have the time or money to attend national conferences. So we are bringing some of Indiana’s best and brightest ideas to you, thanks to our lineup of creative and experienced animal welfare champions.

Prepare yourself for a full-day of learning and networking. The day kicks off at 8 am with breakfast, networking, and registration. Presentations begin at 9 am, with a keynote lunch presentation by Tawny Hammond, Midwest Regional Director of Best Friends. Check out the full agenda below.

The cost is just $30 and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Register online at Eventbrite.

Need a hotel Friday night? SNSI has a block of 20 rooms reserved at the Hampton Inn Indianapolis – South through Friday, May 18th. The rate is $129 for two double beds or a king deluxe room. The Group Code is SNS.

Do you know other shelters and rescue groups who would like to attend? Share our Facebook event to help spread the word.

Underwritten by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust is providing $10,000 of support to host the Indiana Animal Welfare Conference in Indianapolis.

A Big Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Petco Foundation Logo Tom Wood Lexus Logo



Sponsorships are still available and greatly appreciated! Is your business looking to reach a statewide audience of shelters and rescue groups? If so, this is an excellent opportunity to connect with a variety of shelters and rescue groups in one convenient location, while supporting the life-saving work these organizations do for Indiana’s animals. Become a sponsor today!


Download the PDF of the Agenda

8:00 – 8:30 am Continental Breakfast, Networking, Registration

8:30 – 8:35 am Welcome & Introductions

8:35 – 9:05 am   Combating Cruelty & Neglect

Pat Harrington – Tippecanoe County Prosecutor

9:05 – 9:35 am Staying Connected: Connecting and working together to do more for animals.

  • Dawn Contos – Alliance of Indiana Shelters and Rescues’ Facebook page
  • Dr. Sandi Norman & Dr. Lovejoy – State Board of Animal Health (BOAH)
    • Registry of Rescue Groups & Shelters
    • BOAH’s work on animal welfare cases and with law enforcement

9:35 – 10:50 am Strategies to Achieve Zero Kill

Indiana’s rural and urban shelters are achieving zero-kill status. Open-admission shelters are the focus of many rescue organizations and private shelters, working to help relieve the burden of too many animals and not enough funding. As reported by, the following open-admission shelters have achieved zero kill, with live release rates near 100%.

The panel will discuss how they’ve achieved their goal, and what they are doing to get as close to a 100% live release rate as possible.

  • North Central Indiana Spay & Neuter – Sharon Dull
  • Muncie Animal Care & Education Center – Phil Peckenpaugh
  • Brown County Humane Society – Sue Ann Werling
  • Humane Society for Hamilton County – Rebecca Stevens

10:50 am – 11:00 am Break & Networking

11am – 12:15 pm Involving & Engaging the Community

Pet Food Pantries: Pet food pantries provide much-needed relief to limited-income pet owners and colony caretakers. These pantries help keep animals in their home, and generally require that a pet is spayed/neutered before providing food a second time.

1. Pet Food Pantries – Darcie Kurtz – FIDO (Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside)

Transport Programs: Access to low-cost spay/neuter is pivotal to ending shelter overpopulation and the euthanasia of healthy and treatable cats and dogs. Several low-cost clinics partner with rescue groups, who organize transport programs for shelter animals and pet owners, working in tandem with their nearest clinic.

2. Multi-County Transport Programs & Map

  1. How to Start a Transport Program – Mercy Rescue and Adoption – Annie Poore
  2. Clinics with Transport Programs:
    Melissa Lewis – Pets Alive (Bloomington)
    Tammy Sollenberger – Low Cost Spay-Neuter Clinic (Noblesville & Brownsburg)
    Allison Miller – HOPE for Animals (Fort Wayne)
    Kendall Paul – Vanderburgh County (Evansville)
    Jodi Schermerhorn – SPOT Clinics (Cloverdale & Terre Haute)
  3. Lost & Found Pets: Lost & Found Pet organizations reunite thousands of pets and people each year, often bypassing the need to take a found animal to an overcrowded shelter. Indy Lost Pet Alert –Shauna Lahrman

12:15 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch & Keynote Speaker:

Lee Ann Hoy, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust – Pulliam’s Vision for Zero Kill

Tawny Hammond, Midwest Regional Director, Best Friends

1:30 – 2:30 pm State Legislation & Local Ordinances: State legislation and local ordinances can bring best practices to animal welfare, ensuring that animals are safe from abuse and neglect. Learn more about state legislative initiatives, local ordinances, and new ordinances to help shelters maintain their zero-kill status.

  1. Erin Huang – Humane Society of the United States – State Legislation
  2. Sana Azem – ASPCA – State Legislative Updates
  3. Cheri Storms – SNSI – Spay/Neuter Before Adoption
  4. Darcie Kurtz – Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) – City Ordinances
  5. Phil Peckinpaugh – Muncie Animal Care & Education Center – Shelter Ordinances

2:30 – 3:00 pm Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana’s – Programs & Funding

SNSI’s programs are designed to help every Indiana shelter and rescue group fix as many animals as possible, ultimately moving the entire state to zero-kill status. The Pet Friendly specialty license plate is the continual funding source that is changing the landscape of animal welfare in Indiana.

Through SNSI’s programs and vet network, SNSI is facilitating thousands of surgeries each year. But we want to do more, and we need your help.

Cheri Storms, Leslie Kaplan, Scarlett Cmiel – SNSI

3:00 – 3:10 pm Break & Afternoon Snack

3:10 – 4:10 pm Community Cats: Community Cat programs are propelling shelters to zero-kill status with cats bypassing shelters and returning to their neighborhood of origin.

  1. Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) – Lisa Tudor, Indianapolis Animal Care Services
  2. Building a TNR Program – Alicia Fouty, Morgan County Humane Society
  3. Engaging Municipalities – Cathi Eagan, CanINE Express
  4. Community Partnerships – Chris Bralick, Elkhart County Feral Cat Coalition

4:10 – 5:10 pm At-Risk Dogs: Breeds that are over-represented in shelters, dogs that are sick or injured, and dogs with behavioral issues are particularly vulnerable. These special programs are designed to help them find their forever homes.

  1. Pitty Resource Center – Valerie Schey – Care of South Bend
  2. Special needs dogs – Tara Harris, Every Dog Counts
  3. “Rescue Only” Dogs – Julie Zink, Indianapolis Animal Care Services
  4. Transporting At-Risk Dogs – Cathi Eagan, CanINE Express