Humane Society Of Elkhart County

Bristol, Indiana

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About Elkhart County Humane Society

Elkhart County Humane Society in Bristol, Indiana was founded in 1939 as a non-profit organization that relies on generous community donations to fund their programs and services.

In addition to operating an animal shelter, which admits almost 6,000 animals each year, they also serve as animal control for Elkhart County. In this role, Elkhart County Humane Society provides several important services to the community:

  • Assisting with the removal of stray or aggressive dogs off your property that don’t belong to you
  • Advising you regarding trapping of unwanted wildlife or stray animals
  • Helping to secure injured domestic strays or injured wildlife
  • Investigating animal abuse or neglect complaints (approximately 100 cases each month)
  • Assisting law enforcement agencies with the entire justice process from investigation through prosecution

The society serves a community of over 200,000 people working in Elkhart County, and it’s estimated that over 60% of Elkhart County owns a pet. Therefore, educating the community regarding proper animal care and various animal welfare issues is one of Elkhart County Humane Society's top priorities.

Considering pet adoption from Elkhart County Humane Society? Read below for more information about their adoption process and fees.

Contact Info

54687 County Road 19
(574) 848-4225

Hours of Operation

Mon - Thu: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Adoption Process

Elkhart County Humane Society’s adoption process can be found below:

  1. Start by completing an online adoption application form. Applications are kept on file for the remainder of the calendar year.
  2. If you currently own other dogs, cats, or ferrets, complete a vet release form, which confirms that your animals are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations per state law.  
  3. It takes about 24 hours to process your application. While your application is being processed, you can place a 24-hour hold on the animal you're interested in. Up to 3 holds are accepted per animal.
  4. Once your application is approved, you’ll be asked to schedule an appointment to adopt your new pet. If you’re adopting a dog and currently own a dog, a doggie meet-and-greet will be scheduled to ensure your animals are compatible before finalizing the adoption. All family members need to come and meet the animal, too. There are rare instances where a dog just doesn’t like someone in the family, possibly due to past experiences in their life.
  5. Everything check out? Great! Once you’ve paid the adoption fee and completed any remaining paperwork, your new pet can go home!

Please be aware of the adoption requirements at Elkhart County Humane Society:

  • You must be 18+ years old.
  • You must be able and willing to spend the time and money necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for the animal.
  • All animals adopted from Elkhart County Humane Society must be spayed/neutered, receive proper veterinary care (including vaccinations), be appropriately licensed and adhere to all laws and ordinances.
  • If, at any time, your adopted pet isn't being cared for according to the shelter's adoption policy, the animal may be reclaimed.

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at Elkhart County Humane Society are as follows:


  • Adults/puppies: $170


  • Adults/kittens: $80

Small Animals

  • Ferrets, snakes, and iguanas: $50
  • Rabbits and guinea pigs: $15
  • Birds (with cage): $25
  • Hamsters, gerbils, and rats: $5


  • Seniors (60+ years old): 50% off the adoption fee
  • Active military and veterans: 25% off the adoption fee
  • 2 for 1: Adopt 1 animal and get another for free

Your adoption fee covers spay/neuter surgery, initial vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, leukemia testing for cats, and heartworm testing and preventation for dogs over 6 months.

Adoption Process & Fees

Our writing team is hard at work researching this shelter's adoption process and fees, so this page will be updated soon!

In the meantime, here's some nice-to-know info that applies to nearly every animal shelter, humane society, and rescue.

Why Rescue A Shelter Dog?

Because shelter dogs are full of love!

Is it because they know you saved them and love you harder for it?

I can't say for certain, but yes.

Jokes aside, there are three things all shelter dogs need to thrive in their new home:

  1. Love
  2. Patient
  3. Training

Older shelter dogs, generally 1+ years old, may have experienced a lot of trauma, which often results in one of 8 common behavioral issues:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Aggression toward people & pets
  3. Resource guarding
  4. Destructive behavior
  5. Housetraining regression
  6. Poor social skills
  7. Leash reactivity & barrier-related aggression
  8. Constant whining

These issues are correctable! Your dog isn't broken, they're just damaged. You can fix them with enough love, patience, and a good training plan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, finding good dog trainers can be hard. Like everything else, dog training is moving only. but there are great online dog trainers that are proven to work and can help get your new pup on the right path.

Animal Shelter vs Humane Society vs Rescue: What's the Difference?

You can learn a lot about an animal welfare organization just by looking at their name.

Animal Shelters

  • Most Animal Shelters are city or county-run organizations, often operated by the local Animal Control department, that manage strays and handle owner surrenders.
  • They usually have kennel facilities you can visit to adopt animals, and they usually have less stringent adoption requirements, lower adoption fees, and same-day adoptions (because their goal is to get animals out of the shelter).
  • Unfortunately, they usually know very little about each animal, including their true personalities and any behavioral problems.

Humane Societies

  • Most Humane Societies are non-profit organizations, many of which are no-kill shelters.
  • Some (but not all) are affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States.
  • They exist to improve animal welfare in the local community and often partner with city or county-run Animal Shelters that often euthanize animals due to capacity restraints.
  • They usually have kennel facilities, sometimes at multiple locations, and usually offer other services to the community such as low-cost spay/neuter clinics, community education programs, and more.
  • They may also have some animals in foster care.
  • There's a lot of variation in process and fees among Humane Societies, but they usually have really good websites that detail everything for you.


  • Most Rescues are foster-based organizations that don't have physical facilities.
  • They usually have websites and contact emails, but not all of them have phone numbers.
  • Because they don't have a physical facility, you need to view animals in their foster network online, usually on their website but sometimes on their member pages on either PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.
  • If you see an animal you'd like to meet, contact the rescue using the process listed on their website or via email. They'll help you through the application process and set up a time for you to meet the animal at the foster's home.
  • Adopting from a rescue generally is the most expensive option here and takes the longest, but you get an animal that's been cared for in a loving home environment and their foster can tell you a lot about their personality.

6 Tips to Improve Your Adoption Experience

Adoption processes vary drastically from organization to organization, but here are some general tips that apply in most instances. Note that we'll use the term "shelters" here for simplicity but it includes all types of rescue organizations.

  1. See an animal online that you'd like to meet? Call the shelter before your visit to make sure the animal is still available. This especially applies for puppies, which are adopted out quickly.
  2. Usually, you'll need to get some paperwork in order: a photo ID, vaccination/medical records for any pets you currently have, possibly your vet's contact info and a couple of personal references, and (for renters) proof you're allowed to have a pet (copy of your lease or your landlord's contact info).
  3. If you need to provide contact info for your vet, let your vet know ahead of time. Otherwise, they may not release your information.
  4. Many shelters require your current dogs to meet adoptive dogs. Your current dogs need to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Some shelters require you to schedule a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment for the new animal.
  6. Adoption fees may seem excessive, but they're actually amazing values. Truthfully, caring for a pet is expensive. Most adoption fees include required medical care to get the animal ready for their new home including (but not limited to) spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, general vet exams, flea/tick treatment, deworming, heartworm testing/treatment for dogs, and feline leukemia and feline AIDS testing/treatment for cats. In general, your adoption fee is less than the cost of this care, so you're saving money in addition to your new animal's life!

If you have any questions about adopting an animal (what you'll need, what to expect, etc.) feel free to contact the PetLists team!

For more information about what's included in your adoption fee, or any other questions about the adoption process, reach out to
Humane Society Of Elkhart County
directly using the contact info above.

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All information on this page is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge. If you spot an error, please contact us using our contact form.
Note: Hours of operation and other information on this page are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.