It seems fitting that part of Saturday’s half-century celebration at the Bartholomew County Humane Society will include a dog-agility demonstration.

The organization’s leaders have had to remain agile themselves at making their way through a range of pet-related obstacles since they began caring for animals in 1966.

One challenge for the free, 50th anniversary picnic is out of their control. Saturday’s weather forecast includes a high in the low- to mid-90s.

“We do wish it wasn’t supposed to be so hot,” said Jane Irwin, longtime shelter director.

Irwin and others are planning for a crowd of 200 to 400 people for the anniversary picnic, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the society’s shelter, 4415 E.County Road 200S southeast of Columbus.

Animal-oriented activities are planned and vendors will be on-site with information about animal products and services. Also on Saturday’s schedule:

  • A garage sale
  • Wagon rides provided by Shireman Homestead
  • Tours of the new shelter
  • Music from the mid-1960s and beyond from disc jockey Corey Gardner’s Cor Music & Entertainment.
  • Recognition of long-term volunteers
  • A meal catered by Joe Willy’s Burger Bar in Columbus

“We know that the weather could cut down on the crowd a little bit,” said Cheryl Zuckschwerdt-Ellsbury, one of the organizers.

Bartholomew County Humane Society

Location: 4415 E. County Road 200S, Columbus.

Shelter hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Staff: Two full-time and three part-time employees

Shelter amenities: The shelter, which opened in 2014, is nearly 10,000 square feet. It has 30 dog kennels and 30 cat cages plus a puppy area and cat exercise porch with adjoining garden.  The society handles nearly 1,300 animals annually.

Mission: Provide humane support, care, shelter and medical attention to abandoned and homeless animals, place adoptable animals in permanent homes and promote responsible pet ownership. It also helps enforce animal-control laws.

Volunteer opportunities: Available in areas such as cat care, dog care, adoption follow-up, lost and found, office assistant, breed rescue assistant, animal transporter, nursing home visitation, shelter handyman, advertising liaison and media outreach, fundraising and grants, education efforts, special events and special projects.

Information: 812-372-6063, or online at

Source: Bartholomew County Humane Society

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.