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New rules in effect for Marion Co. dog owners

Posted at 6:45 PM, May 30, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the weather heating up, Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) is trying to get the word out about new ordinances meant to keep your dog safe from the heat.


The new rules, which went into effect in Marion County in September 2015, say if the temperature is above 90 degrees, or if there’s a heat advisory, you have to bring your animal inside.


“You’ve got to get them inside and out of that brutal weather,” said Darcie Kurtz, founder and vice president of FIDO. “It’s like us sitting outside in 90 degree heat with a fur coat on. It’s just miserable.”

As the weather heats up, you might also be interested in this: In Indiana, if you break a window to free a dog in a hot car, it's you the police will be talking to.

 This is the first summer dog owners will have to follow these new ordinances, Kurtz said.


“We’re raising the bar for how they care for animals,” said Kurtz. “In Indianapolis, we’re trying to become a first class city for animals.”


FIDO provided images of dogs tied to mattresses and stumps without shade.


The new law says once the temperature hits 80 degrees, your dog’s shelter must be shaded by either trees or a tarp.


While out driving with FIDO on the near east side, the group pointed out a kennel covered with a tattered tarp.


Kurtz said the kennel was likely a violation because it was not large enough for two dogs.


“They come out here to use the bathroom, or they ain’t gonna use the bathroom in our house,” said a man who came outside and took the dogs out of the kennel.


The man declined to be interviewed by Call 6 Investigates.


The ordinance also states if your dog has open wounds from insect bites, you must get them treated.


It’s hard to look at, but FIDO responded to a scene where a puppy’s face was infested with maggots.

“Those are the kinds of horrible things you see with dogs that can live outside and maybe don’t get regular care,” said Kurtz. “When people don’t keep an eye on their dogs when they’re outside, these kinds of things happen.”


The dog is doing well, said Kurtz, but likely lost an eye.


Roxanne Torres, owner of two dogs who live mostly outside, said she was unaware of the new ordinances but plans to follow them.


“I think it’s a good idea, but I won’t always be here to take the dogs inside, so I’ll make sure they have cold water and are out of the weather,” said Torres.


Starting this Wednesday, city buses will run advertisements inside and outside, educating people about the new ordinances.


“Whatever it takes to help make the dog’s life better,” said Kurtz.


Indianapolis Animal Care and Control enforces the ordinances, and can issue violators a fine or impound the animal.


From October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, IACC addressed 2,033 complaints of animals being neglected and issued 597 violations for care and treatment.


Here’s what the law states:



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

  • Your dog is less than 6 months old
  • Your dog is sick or injured
  • It is between 11 pm and 6 am
  • Your dog is not spayed or neutered (unless your dog is within eyesight)


  • Dog must have adequate space for exercise; at least 100 square feet
  • Any dog over 80 pounds must have 150 square feet
  • Add extra 50 square feet for each additional dog


Dog must have access to:

  • Shelter constructed of solid, weather resistant materials
  • Dry floor raised above the ground
  • Roof sloped away from entrance


Dog must be brought inside temperature controlled building if: 

  • Temperature outside is 20 degrees and below
  • Temperature outside is 90 degrees and above
  • There’s a heat advisory
  • There’s a wind chill warning
  • There’s a tornado warning