INDIANAPOLIS -- Summer is unofficially over, but animal advocates want to remind pet owners new rules are still in effect meant to keep dogs 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 into a temperature-controlled building.
Until now, Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) has educated the community in English only, but FIDO says the Latino community may not be getting the message about the changes.
FIDO is launching a public awareness campaign aimed at the Latino community that will include pamphlets, billboards and other materials in Spanish.
“We are also reaching out to Latino radio stations and print outlets,” said Darcie Kurtz, founder of FIDO. “We believe the Latino community respects the law and wants to do the right thing. You can’t adhere to the law if you don’t know what the law is.”
Kurtz said many pet owners, not just Latinos, keep dogs outside as guard dogs.
However, dog owners must follow rules or else they could face a care and treatment citation from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, now called Indianapolis Animal Care Services.
Monday, a group of FIDO volunteers headed out with an interpreter to speak with Hispanic families about following the ordinance.
For example, they approached a home where teenager Diannela Ramirez’s mother does not speak English.
The Ramirez family adopted two dogs from Indianapolis Animal Care Services, Gunther and Redmond.
When FIDO arrived Monday, Gunther was on a choke chain, had no shelter and was suffering from insect bites.
The rules say if your dog has open wounds from insect bites, you must get them treated.
FIDO volunteers helped the Ramirez family avoid a citation, and also give the dogs a better life, by providing a buckle collar, medicine to keep the flies and fleas away, and even a new house filled with straw.
"The fact that they are giving us their help and their time, it really means a lot to us. We have never had support like this before, so it's really nice,” said Diannela Ramirez. "It's really important because you don't really have a lot of people that can translate and get the help they need. For us, it's really nice to have an interpreter right here and help us also."
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 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Your dog is not spayed or neutered (unless your dog is within eyesight)
PEN OR FENCED ENCLOSURE
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
Dogs 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