New ordinance requires Indianapolis pet owners to bring dogs inside during extreme heat

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4 Fast Facts

  • Dogs overheat quicker than human because they are unable to perspire the same way humans do.
  • A new addition to an Indianapolis ordinance was put into effect last September to protect the dogs.
  • Dog owners must provide shelter for dogs when temps reach 80 degrees.
  • Owners must bring dogs inside when its 90 degrees.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new addition to the Indianapolis Animal Care and Treatment Ordinance defines the extreme low and high temperatures at which point dog owners must bring their dog inside a temperature controlled facility.

The new rules were added to the Care and Treatment of Animals ordinance in September 2015, and this is the first summer they are in effect.

According to the ordinance, it is now required by law to provide your dog with shelter when the temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and you must bring your dog inside when it’s warmer than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The law also sets new requirements for tethering and enclosures. Here is a complete list of the improvements made to the ordinance, as provided by Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO):

Shelter

Your dog must have access to:

  • A shelter constructed of solid wood or other weather resistant materials consisting of solid walls on all sides
  • A dry floor raised above the ground
  • A roof sloped away from the entrance to protect your dog from weather and extreme cold

Pen or Fenced Enclosure

  • Your dog must have adequate space for exercise when confined to a kennel, enclosure or pen which must be at least 100 square feet (for example: 10ft. x 10ft.)
  • Any dog over 80 pounds must be provided with a space of 150 square feet
  • For each additional dog inside the enclosure, an extra 50 square feet must be provided

Tethering

It is against the law to tether (chain) your dog if any of the following is true:

  • Your dog is is less than 6 months old
  •  Your dog is sick or injured
  • It is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Your dog is not spayed or neutered, unless you are an adult, your dog is in your visual range, and you are outside with your dog

Extreme Weather

Your dog must be brought inside a temperature controlled building, such as your house when:

Shade

  • On any day where the temperature is at or above 80°F, your dog’s shelter must be shaded by either trees or a tarp.

"The new ordinance does not prohibit people from walking their dog or letting their dog outside to relieve themselves. The new ordinance is targeted at situations where dogs are otherwise living in extreme temperatures 24/7 or close to it," said Darcie Kurtz of FIDO.

A person who violates any part of this ordinance will receive a $25 fine for the first violation, and a $200 fine for the second or subsequent violations. Additionally, a court may decide to take the dog away from the pet owner.

According to the Humane Society of Indianapolis, unlike humans, dogs are only able to perspire around their paws which is not enough to keep their body cool.

Some signs of heat stroke are: panting, staring, anxious expression, refusal to obey commands, warm, dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and collapse. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, call a veterinarian immediately and lower the animal’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body.

(You can read the full ordinance on basic care and treatment of animals here.)

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