BROWNSBURG — In 2011, Renee Harlor and Cherie Fox set a goal of opening their own animal shelter and humane education center by the end of the following year. They were a couple months late and don’t yet have the permanent facility they seek, but Misty Eyes now officially has a home.
They opened their new location at 640 E. Main St. in February. It’s small — there are pins that can hold up to about eight dogs and a separate room for cats. That means most of their animals stay in foster homes until the adoption process is complete.
“This is temporary until we get our permanent facility built,” said Harlor, who serves as Misty Eyes’ executive director.
But already demand has skyrocketed. So far this year they’ve already adopted out more animals than they did in all of 2012. They attribute part of that to having a physical location now, and not just a sidewalk display in front of a pet store. But another aspect is their relationship with the Hendricks County Animal Shelter that started in 2012.
About 75 percent of Misty Eyes’ animals are now coming from the shelter, where it was only 25 percent in the second half of last year.
Fox, who serves as director of animal operations for Misty Eyes, admits that just a couple years ago she never would’ve believed she could have the relationship with Hendricks County Animal Control that she enjoys now.
“We get along absolutely great,” she said. “They’re completely open to us and help us assess the animals. I have nothing negative to say.”
That was their goal when Harlor and Fox began discussing the idea of opening their own shelter and learning center a couple years ago. Both longtime animal advocates, they had grown weary of the fractious elements within that community and the outcry against the county shelter.