The Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA) is dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals, strengthening the human-animal bond, and providing access to veterinary care & humane education across our community.
We have been responsibly & compassionately protecting, advocating and educating for animal welfare since 1956.
In the 1950s, the Monroe County Humane Association (MCHA) established the first animal shelter and operated what has become the City of Bloomington Animal Care and Control (BACC). Early initiatives for MCHA were to hire the first animal control officers, obtain a humane shelter certification, expand rabies vaccination opportunities, and share humane education in the community. While MCHA and BACC have always been separate entities, the two organizations have shared space, staff, programs, and visions of a humane community since the late 1950s.
While BACC is fully funded by tax dollars, there are many things needed to strategically address a wide variety of animal related issues in our community in addition to sheltering homeless animals.
Beginning in 1956, MCHA built and owned the original facility and managed all expansion projects and kennel improvements. In 2003, MCHA gifted the entire facility to the City of Bloomington to support the renovation project that would add what is now the adoption center on 3410 S Walnut St. While MCHA and BACC have a collaborative working relationship, the two organizations no longer share staff or programming. BACC oversees the care and housing of both stray and adoptable animals and ordinance enforcement, while MCHA continues to facilitate accessible veterinary care, humane education, therapy animals, and outreach services.
Founder of the Monroe County Humane Association
One of the first lines to receive rabies vaccinations
More in line for rabies vaccinations
Beginning of the VIPaws Program
Walk for the Animals
Staff, before shelter was deeded to the City of Bloomington
Lines to receive vaccinations continued to grow
One of the first office cats
Incorporated with the State of Indiana as Humane Association, Inc. of Monroe County
Board of Directors: Earl Miller – President, Abraham Owen – Vice President, Ruth Alexander – Secretary, Marcella Torrey – Treasurer, Verne Demotte, Curtis Hall, Goldie Hiatt, and A.E. Koeppen
Board of Directors & volunteers were responsible for picking up and assisting animals in need
A board member recalls an instance where a German Shepherd was stuck in a ditch (what is now known as the Jordan River on Indiana University’s campus) and needed to be rescued. The board member approached the dog, it became scared and bit numerous times, requiring medical attention
Expanded rabies vaccination program by sending 4,000 letters home with children at school. The cost was $0.25 per vaccine, and 2,293 vaccines were administered. 8 vaccines were given for free based on income, and veterinarians pitched in to cover the costs
Found homes for more than 1,600 dogs
A husband and wife were hired as the first staff members to run an animal shelter out of a 10′ x 10′ room with an outside holding area
New shelter was built entirely from donations and donated labor and is located at the current location, 3410 S Walnut St. Total cost of the shelter was $28,000
Current President of the Board, Theodore Appleton, receives phone calls to his home. In one month, he received 475 phone calls – 186 general questions, 21 complaints of cruelty, 14 complaints of animals creating a nuisance, and 27 reports of dog packs
City of Bloomington Mayor established an Animal Control Commission. Humane Officer was hired to patrol for strays, and a citation system was established
Provided Kindness Kits to 400 teachers in Monroe County schools. Kits included lesson plans educating on animal ownership
Established Medical Fund to provide financial assistance to Monroe County residents to help cover the costs of veterinary services
Added improvements to the animal shelter, including the Robert E. Gray Education Center, special care area for injured and ill animals, stray dog kennel area, and euthanasia facility
Animal shelter receives its first accreditation from the Humane Society of the United States, only the 2nd shelter in Indiana to receive the accreditation. This was presented to Jim Lang, Shelter Director, and renewed each year until the program ended in 1982
Started the VIPaws Program as volunteers often made visits to nursing homes with pets
Added improvements to the shelter, including animal care facilities and expanding office space for Animal Control Officers
Started Winter Care Package Program, making straw and wood scraps available for free to anyone who needed to line dog houses
Started Walk-a-Dog-a-thon and raised almost $3,000 through 47 walkers, later became Walk for the Animals
Started Pet Therapy Program at Bloomington Meadows Hospital for children ages 3-12. Education Coordinator used own dog for visits
Expanded reach by distributing 3,000 newsletters and hosting over 40 programs
Created mission statement: To prevent cruelty to animals and to promote respect for animals and their environments
“The Association will devote its resources toward this realization through leadership, education, example, and action, using such means as are legal and most effective. This forms the basis for our organizational activities including the humane operation of the animal shelter, the promotion of humane lifestyles, and the reduction and prevention of domestic animal overpopulation.”
Established a special fund to assist with expenses related to veterinary care incurred by individuals whose animals were abused
Hired first Executive Director, Erica De Santis
Deeded the animal shelter to the City of Bloomington
Celebrated 50 years
Rescued several puppies and small breed adult dogs from a puppy mill in Owen County
With the help of US Marshals and the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, rescued 27 dogs from a dog hoarder in Greene County
Supported efforts to rescue roosters from an animal fighting operation in Owen County
Started mobile vaccine clinics to serve the community at a different location in Monroe County each month
Provided additional staff, veterinary care, and supplies to Owen County Humane Society as 82 dogs were pulled from a rat-infested property outside of Spencer, IN
Opened low income Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic inside administration office space, available to the public every other Thursday evening
Launched Pet Food & Supply Pantry for residents of Monroe County
Broke ground on 6.48 acres of land on the west side of Bloomington for the Animal Care Campus, allowing for expanded programs & services including a full-service Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic, Pet Food & Supply Pantry, E. Susan Bartlett Housing Center, grooming, public dog walking trails, and a pet memorial garden
Covid-19 pandemic hit, forcing: Nonprofit Veterinary Clinic services to be restricted to ill and injured pets only, requirements for the Pet Food & Supply Pantry to be waived, the Administration & Education Office to be closed, and the E. Susan Bartlett Housing Center to be opened before anticipated to house pets whose owners were affected by the virus – at the request of the Monroe County Health Department
Began the Transient Outreach program to provide accessible veterinary wellness care to pets belonging to our transient residents of Monroe County. In partnership with the Bloomington Police Department, The Monroe County Humane Association visits various transient-dense facilities and encampments in the area each month to provide basic vaccinations for dogs and cats; as well as flea prevention, de-wormer, nail trims, and general exams.