Indianapolis Animal Care Services overwhelmed by calls reporting pets out in freezing temperatures

Posted at 8:22 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 11:00:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Members of Indianapolis Animal Care Services are working round-the-clock to respond to the hundreds of complaints and concerns being phoned in about animals left in the cold, but due to the sheer volume those calls may not be answered for over a day. 

IACS officers have teamed up with Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) to decrease their response times for calls from concerned citizens regarding dogs left out in the freezing temperatures. 

IACS said they received 264 care and treatment calls just over the New Year weekend and because of that, their response time is around 30 hours right now. 

"Despite the continuous efforts of our officers and volunteers, our response time is higher than we'd like," IACS posted on their Facebook page Tuesday. 

In Indianapolis, it is illegal to leave your pets outside when the temperature is at or below 20 degrees or when there is a wind chill warning. 

READ | Animal advocates remind owners about cold weather law

Anybody found in violation of the ordinance must pay a fine of more than $25 for their first offense. On their second offense, they will have to pay a fine of more than $200 and could lose the animal.

TIPS | What to do if you see a pet left out in the cold

For calls and concerns regarding the safety of an animal, call the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4622. For after hour emergencies call 317-327-3811.

Indianapolis' law states the following in regards to tethering, shelter and what to do in extremely cold temperatures:


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)


Your dog must also 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


Dogs must have access to: 

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


Dogs must be brought inside a 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

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