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June 29, 2005
Indianapolis Star

Humane Society can use fund to secure credit

The Humane Society of Indianapolis can use a trust fund to secure a line of credit of up to $1.7 million to fund its animal shelter, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Animal welfare providers -- including the Southside Animal Shelter and Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana -- protested that use of the trust fund. They argued the Humane Society's past financial problems could drain the trust, leave the Humane Society insolvent and force other providers to take care of animals.

But Marion Superior Judge Charles J. Deiter dismissed their lawsuit, declaring that other animal welfare providers didn't have a legal right to protest the decision. The appeals court agreed, saying the public cannot sue over public charitable trusts.

In a footnote, however, the appeals court makes clear that its ruling is not intended to address the wisdom of the lower court's decision to allow the Humane Society to borrow money using the trust fund as collateral.

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