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Volunteers Offer Help To Outdoor Dogs

posted Apr 4, 2012, 1:58 PM by Jeffrey Christoffersen   [ updated Apr 4, 2012, 2:01 PM ]

Originally posted Feb 06, 2010 

“Neglected dog. Golden in color. Chained in the backyard most of the time…. Worst of all, it has no shelter against bad weather.” 

That complaint was sent Monday to Star Watch by a person who lives near where the dog is chained in the 800 block of Eagledale Drive. The concerned neighbor had called the Mayor’s Action Center in December with a similar complaint. 

Start Watch turned to FIDO – Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside – for help. 

After checking with Animal Care and Control, FIDO volunteer Darcie Kurtz learned that an office visited the Westside address in December, citing the owner for care and treatment violations.  During two return visits, the office did not find the dog outside, so Animal Care considered the case resolved. However, a visit by Star Watch on Tuesday found the dog chained in the backyard without shelter. When Kurtz told Animal Care about possible further care and treatment violations, an office was dispatched to check. 

FIDO is an all-volunteer group that helps owners improve the quality of life for outside dogs. It targets urban, low-income, high-crime neighborhoods where people often are unable to provide basic supplies for their dogs. A key part of its mission is to help owners find alternatives to continuous chaining. The organization also offers donated supplies and spay-neuter services. 

Often, Animal Care and Control refers residents cited for ordinance violations to FIDO for assistance with supplies and guidance. Likewise, when FIDO finds instances of extreme neglect or abuse, it asks Animal Control to intervene. 

City ordinances say that animals must not be tethered outdoors between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.; an unsterilized dog should not be tethered at any time unless monitored by an adult. Other rules require providing animals with adequate food and water, shelter and ventilation and allowing them space to move about freely.  Owners also must provide medical care and protect animals against mistreatment. 

If you believe an animal protection law is being broken or if you observe a dog that is stray or abandoned, sick or injured, aggressive, dangerous or barking uncontrollably, call the Mayor’s Action Center at (317) 327-4622 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center will forward the information to Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. For after-hour problems such as sick, injured or aggressive animals, or animal attacks in progress, call 911. 

If you have a nonemergency or need help in improving the quality of life of an outdoor dog, visit http://www.fidoindy.org or call FIDO’s voicemail line at (317) 592-9616.

JANE LICHTENBERG 
Community Conversations coordinator
Contact her at (317) 444-6015 or by email at
jane.lichtenberg@indystar.com 

To read and comment on this and more from the Star Watch blog, go to IndyStar.com/starwatchblog

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Jeffrey Christoffersen,
Apr 4, 2012, 1:58 PM
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