The Five Freedoms: Freedom from Discomfort

July 28, 2023 | Blog

Recently, I came across several previous posts that were shared with our team quite some time ago. I was impressed by the way in which this important message was shared. I changed a few things but am completely stealing it to share with all of you now. Over the next weeks I will share the remaining Freedom’s with you and hope you will enjoy reading them and realize that we are putting these into practice here at IndyHumane every day.

You may have heard professionals in our field talk about “The Five Freedoms”.  These are five principles that the animal welfare community has adopted to ensure animals needing shelter receive appropriate, basic care.  In recent conferences, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement has encouraged animal shelter leaders to continue to work toward all adoptable animals being placed in homes, but also not to forget that these Beings are entitled to receive 5 very basic Freedoms.

These Freedoms embody what IndyHumane strives to provide and though it is heartbreaking sometimes that means that we cannot help as many as need us. As a limited admission shelter with limited resources IndyHumane is not able to care for more than we have the capacity to care for properly; these Freedoms need to be at the core of everything that we do as paid and volunteer staff, and as an organization.  In order to validate the work you do and encourage us not to forget why we do it, we want to share one of the Freedom’s with you this week.  If you aren’t familiar with them, you can find more on the ASPCA website as well as many other sites for our field.

As promised, we will be visiting the Five Freedom’s over the next few weeks. Below is a discussion about the second freedom, the Freedom from Discomfort.

–  Donna Casamento, CEO of IndyHumane


Freedom from Discomfort
By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

IndyHumane is aware that part of keeping our animals happy and healthy is addressing their comfort.  To this point, our teams have worked hard to find “quieter” places for reactive or shy dogs to live, we are fortunate to have a De-stress area for cats who need time to adjust, and we have a barn cat program because we believe that cats who don’t want to live inside are still worthy of life!  Many of us have hosted (at least) one shelter pet in our office because a standard living area wasn’t quite enough.  We have an entire army of foster parents who address the needs of those pets who are too little, too sick, or too stressed to be happy within the walls of the shelter (thanks Foster Families!).

IndyHumane is fortunate to have teams of volunteers and staff who make sure bedding is fresh and clean, our kennels are spot cleaned by hundreds of volunteer staff, our Feline teams make sure our colony cats have shelter from weather year-round, and our facility strives to keep the indoor climate appropriate which isn’t always easy.  Our teams consider space guidelines so there aren’t overcrowded conditions, exercise needs to keep pets from shutting down due to inactivity (thanks to everyone who walks dogs and helps with playgroup), bedding preferences and hiding places so cats can decompress, even providing scent cues to help shelter animals stay calmer and less anxious about their living quarters!

These Freedoms embody what IndyHumane strives to provide and are at the core of everything that we do as paid and volunteer staff, and as an organization.  This is not only due to an amazing group of shelter staff but also due to thousands of hours of volunteer staff time, and from support for the supplies and equipment from our donors.

Thank you for all you do, for the attention to this Freedom, and for living the IndyHumane mission.  Not only do we work as teams inside the organization to promote the best for our animals, but we also work as a community to further best practices for all animals.  Focusing on the basic rights for shelter animals is what IndyHumane does on every level; it is all about the animals.

As stated before, all of us, from staff to patrons and donors, expect this level of care for the animals in our shelter.  We, in turn, expect the new families to follow suit.  The education for and the belief in basic Freedoms is what strengthens the human animal bond and supports the humane ethic for all central Indiana animals!  Thank you for all you do, for your attention to this very basic Freedom and for living the IndyHumane mission.



IndyHumane’s mission is to improve animal welfare in central Indiana. We are committed to ending the cycle of pet overpopulation, providing affordable pet ownership, and ensuring the well-being, health and safety of all animals in our care. We strive to promote the human animal bond and the powerful impact this mutually beneficial relationship has on individuals, families, and the Indianapolis community.  


Donate to help animals in need today!