Leaving Your Dog Outside In The Heat Can Be A $200 Mistake In Indianapolis

Other ordinance changes affect outside housing and tethering of dogs.

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The law in Marion County in Indiana has specific requirements for your dog’s shelter. Via Lightroom Brasil/Flickr
John Virata

If you live in Indianapolis or any of the surrounding cities in Marion County, Indiana, and keep your dog outside, be aware that if the outside temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit you must provide shaded shelter for your dog, and if the outside temperature reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you must bring your dog inside.

The law went into effect in September 2015 and this will be the first summer of enforcement under the Care and Treatment of Animals ordinance, according to Fox 59 News.

“The new ordinance does not prohibit people from walking their dog or letting their dog outside to relieve themselves,” Darcie Kurtz of Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) told Fox 59 News. “The new ordinance is targeted at situations where dogs are otherwise living in extreme temperatures 24/7 or close to it.”

When the temperature outside 90 degrees Fahrenheit and above or 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you must bring your dog indoors. Via francis mckee/Flickr

When the temperature outside 90 degrees Fahrenheit and above or 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, you must bring your dog indoors. Via francis mckee/Flickr

In addition, according to Fox 59, there have been changes to how a dog is sheltered, tethered and fenced in. Here they are, courtesy FIDO.

Shelter Specifications

  • When your dog is outside, it must have access to a shelter constructed of solid wood or similar weather-resistant material with solid walls on all sides.
  • The floor must remain dry and raised above the ground
  • The roof must be sloped away from the entrance so your dog is protected from weather and extreme cold.

Pen or Fenced Enclosure Specifications

  • When kept in a kennel, enclosure or pen, that area must be at least 100 square feet so your dog can exercise.
  • Larger dogs more than 80 pounds must be kept in a space of at least 150 square feet.
  • Each additional dog requires an extra 50 square feet of space.


  • If your dog is less than 6 months old, or sick or injured, it is against the law to tether him.
  • Your dog cannot be tethered between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • If your dog is not spayed or neutered, your dog cannot be tethered unless you are an adult and your dog is in your visual range and you are outside with your dog

Extreme Weather

  • You cannot leave your dog outside during extreme weather events
  • When temperatures outside are 20 degrees Fahrenheit and below or 90 degrees Fahrenheit and above
  • When there is a heat advisory, windchill warning or tornado warning


  • When it is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, your dog’s shelter must be shaded by a tarp or by trees.

Those in violation of the new ordinance are subject to a $25 fine on the first offense and a $200 fine for subsequent offenses.

The full requirements for animal care in Marion County, Indiana, can be read on the county’s website.

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