ASPCA Commends Indiana Lawmakers for Passing Spay/Neuter Bill to Reduce Pet Homelessness

New law will require shelters to spay/neuter dogs and cats prior to adoption
February 26, 2016

NEW YORK – The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends Indiana lawmakers for unanimously passing H.B. 1201, a critical bill that will require shelters to spay/neuter dogs and cats prior to adoption. This comprehensive statewide spay/neuter law will dramatically decrease pet homelessness numbers and euthanasia rates at Indiana shelters. H.B. 1201 now heads to Gov. Mike Pence for his approval.

Spaying and neutering pets helps control pet homelessness, while also providing medical and behavioral benefits to animals. According to data from Indiana University, over 125,000 animals are surrendered to shelters throughout the state each year, and approximately 40 percent of these animals are euthanized simply because there isn’t enough shelter space.

“Many Indiana communities have already seen a significant reduction in pet homelessness after enacting local laws to require spay/neuter before adoption, and the passage of H.B. 1201 will undoubtedly save thousands of animals from unnecessary euthanasia,” said Vicki Deisner, Midwest legislative director for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is grateful to the dedicated local animal advocates who have worked tirelessly to pass a statewide spay/neuter bill for seven years, and we thank Senator Hershman and Representatives Karickhoff and Lawson for their strong leadership on this issue.”

“This bill’s unanimous passage through both the house and senate is a great step forward in the fight to eliminate the euthanasia of healthy and treatable cats and dogs,” said Cheri Storms, president of Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, the state’s only statewide spay-neuter financial assistance program. “Shelters and rescue groups are doing what they can to get pets into loving, adoptive homes, but the reality is we can’t adopt our way out of this serious issue. Making sure pets are being spayed and neutered at the time of adoption is a key part of the long-term solution.

“It’s been rewarding to work with ASPCA, SNSI and the Humane Society to advance great public policy that will save animals’ lives and taxpayer resources,” said State Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo). “It’s rare for a bill to not pick up a single no vote in either chamber. The patience shown and perseverance exhibited by the interested parties who have worked for almost a decade to bring this to fruition are encouraging to me.”    

“The passage of House Bill 1201 means we are one step closer to providing local governments with the help they need to manage and care for stray cats and dogs. As an owner of two rescued dogs, I understand the challenges unique to these shelters, both practically and financially,” said Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek). A sample of just five out of Indiana’s 92 counties and 26 towns show that these local units in total spent about $14.5 million picking up, sheltering, feeding and either adopting out or euthanizing homeless cats and dogs in 2014. By increasing the number of spayed and neutered animals, we can reduce financial burdens and improve public safety for our communities, while also encouraging adoption of cats and dogs in need of good homes.”

“I am so excited to see this bill move forward and am happy that, after seven years of work, we can begin to put an end to animal euthanasia in the state. By implementing these simple actions, we can lift a heavy financial burden from the shoulders of animal care facilities, saving Indiana the over $60 million that is currently used to help rescue groups, animal control and other agencies control the Indiana companion animal population,” said Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond). “I am pleased to inform Indiana’s companion animal advocates that we are one step closer to saving the lives of thousands of animals across the state. I have worked alongside these individuals, witnessing the tremendous efforts they have made to help healthy, loving animals find homes. The tireless efforts of the ASPCA, SNSI and the Humane Society on behalf of these animals, along with the dedicated support of Rep. Karickhoff and Senator Hershman, made this legislation possible.”

Indiana now joins 33 other states that already require spay/neuter surgeries prior to adoption. In honor of National Spay/Neuter Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of February, the ASPCA has teamed up with TV personality Daisy Fuentes to promote the benefits of spay/neuter. The campaign features a video that educates pet owners about high-quality, affordable spay/neuter services available nationwide. The ASPCA has also launched You Don’t Need Balls to be Mighty – a social media initiative with former WWE wrestler AJ Brooks and her dog Larry asking pet owners to take a stand against animal homelessness by pledging to get their pet spayed or neutered at

For more information on the ASPCA or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit