Cold Turkey: New Hamilton county animal care laws to go into effect

New Hamilton county animal care laws to go into effect

Viyang Hao

Starting on Nov. 9, Hamilton county will start to enforce a new animal ordinance that focuses on improv- ing the penalties for animal abuse, neglect, and endangerment, which includes leaving animals outside in extreme weather conditions.

According to the Hamilton County website, the revised ordinance includes updated and clarified definitions of“appropriate breeder,” “puppy mills” and what is considered “adequate” food, water, shelter, space, ventilation and veterinary care. The ordinance also addresses regulations that owners must meet when leaving pets outdoors in extreme temperatures. In addition, the policy states that those who inflict neglect and cruelty onto an animal can be fined up to $2,500.

According to Rebecca Stevens, President and CEO of the Hu- mane Society of Hamilton County (HSHC), the change to the animal ordinance comes due to multiple re- ports from this year that brought light to the lack of animal care regulations. This led the Hamilton County Com- missioners and HSHC to update the policy as needed.

Despite this, Stevens said this was not the only time an animal abuse inci- dent had been reported.

According to Stevens, an animal named Harlow was a part of a pur- poseful and violent vehicle accident, but has made a full recovery and has been adopted.

Jade Mehta, volunteer at the Hu- mane Society of Indianapolis (Indy- Humane) and sophomore, also recalled a time of where she saw animal abuse and neglect first hand.

Mehta said, “My next-door neigh- bor has a sweet dog who was left out in freezing temperatures and left in- side a crate in the garage all day, if not left outside. My family makes an ef- fort to interact with her but just as one can read people, you can quite clearly tell that it has put an emotional strain on a dog that used to be so friendly but now fears humans.”

Maya Prabhakaran, aspiring veteri- narian and senior, said she found that updating the policy is “extremely nec- essary” for Hamilton County.

“Especially in Indiana, I know that there are a lot of puppy mills and illegal breedings that are going on and so the animals are not taken well care of,” Prabhakaran said.

Although the new ordinance will go into effect in two weeks, these changes only impact unincorporated areas of Hamilton County, accord- ing to Stevens. The new ordinances do not include Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville or Zionsville.

“While we have gotten this ordinance passed by the Hamilton County Commissioners, it’s important (that people) understand that this is only the first step,” Stevens said. “Every city has its own ordinances, so (the Hamilton County Commissioners and I) still have some work to do.”