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Pet owners urged to prepare for snow, bitter cold

Posted: 3:38 PM, Jan 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-16 17:44:49-05

INDIANAPOLIS — With more snow on the way and frigid temperatures expected, animal advocates are urging pet owners to prepare for the bitter winter weather.

An animal care and treatment ordinance that went into effect in September 2015 requires dog owners to bring their animals inside when the temperature hits 20 degrees or below.

Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside is offering dog and cat houses, as well as training crates, from 12 to 7 p.m. Thursday at their warehouse at 1505 North Sherman.

Kurtz said when it hits 20 degrees, pet owners are urged to bring their pet houses inside a temperature controlled building such as their home or a heated garage.

“The law says the building needs to be between 40 and 80 degrees,” Darcie Kurtz, FIDO founder, said.

FIDO is asking for a nominal fee between $10 and $30 for the houses and crates.

The law says dogs have to have shelter when they’re outside, and when temperatures hit below 40 degrees, that shelter has to have insulating bedding and a cover over the opening.

“Dogs still need to have protection from the cold with a properly outfitted doghouse,” Kurtz said. “They need straw bedding so they can burrow in, stay warm, and you also need a cover over the opening."

Kurtz said the ordinance is in place for a reason.

"It's the law and from an animal welfare perspective we've raised the bar in Indianapolis for how people care for their dogs,” Kurtz said. “If the person just doesn’t want to comply, that’s where we can have animal care services step in.”

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

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