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Action Needed on Proposed Outside Dog Ordinance Improvements

posted Jun 13, 2015, 6:53 PM by Marie Lewis

Beginning over a year and a half ago, several FIDO board members spearheaded an effort to make improvements to the Indianapolis animal ordinances with regard to the care and treatment of outside dogs.  We know from FIDO outreach work over the past 10 years that there are serious gaps in the current animal ordinances.  We worked on these ordinance revisions through the Indianapolis Animal Welfare Alliance public policy committee, which included local animal prosecutors, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control directors, and City-County Councilor Zach Adamson.  We also sought the input of several local veterinarians.  We researched national guidelines and ordinances in other cities.  These changes have the potential to greatly improve the quality of life of outside dogs in Indianapolis.


To summarize our proposed revisions:


1)    We clarified the language of the ordinance prohibiting the chaining of unaltered dogs and the chaining of dogs overnight.  The current language allows such chaining if a dog is being “monitored” by its owner.  Currently, an owner can claim that they are “monitoring” their chained dog all night long by watching it through a window from their house.  This makes the ordinance essentially useless.  Revised language requires that the owner stays outside with their unaltered dog when chained or when a dog is chained overnight.  Since the owner of a continuously chained dog is not going to do that, the owner will now be considered in violation of the ordinance.

2)    We also added the following items to the ordinances which add new protections for outside dogs:

a.    Additional requirements for shelter construction under any weather conditions

b.    Temperature limits for providing additional shelter requirements (straw bedding in winter and shade in the summer)

c.    Temperature limits for requiring dogs to be brought inside a temperature controlled facility (if very cold or very hot outside)

d.    Space requirements for dogs kept in a pen outside

e.    Requirement for medical treatment for flea infestation, fly strike, mange, etc

f.     Restriction against tethering a dog to a motorized vehicle

g.    Restriction against tethering a puppy or sick/injured dog


Zach Adamson recently submitted our proposed revisions to the Community Affairs Committee of the City-County Council.  The ordinance is co-sponsored by committee members John Barth and Pam Hickman. 


Here's what we need you to do by July 15th:

1. Call your Indianapolis City-County Councilor. You can find your councilor and his/her contact name here:

2. Call councilor Leroy Robinson (at-large councilor)

3. E-mail the other committee members to ask them to co-sponsor or support the ordinance.

4. E-mail John Barth and Pam Hickman to thank them. 


Here's what else we need you to do:

1. Mark your calendars for the Community Affairs Committee meeting - Wednesday, July 15th at 5:30pm at the City-County Building (we will let you know the room number later.)

2. Mark your calendars for the full Council meeting - Monday, August 17th at 7pm in the council chambers on the 2nd floor.


Here's our proposed ordinance with marked revisions


Thank you in advance for your help,

Darcie Kurtz

FIDO Founder and Vice-President


Jeni Christoffersen

FIDO President


Marie Koenig

FIDO Treasurer