It's illegal to leave your pets out in the cold - here's who to call for help


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — As winter weather again bears down on central Indiana, Indianapolis Animal Care Services is urging you to keep your pets safe.

“Just as we care for our neighbors, we should be doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our four-legged friends,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in November. “I encourage our community to take steps to make sure all animals are fed, hydrated and have a warm, dry place to sleep throughout the colder months.”

It is against the law in Indianapolis to leave a pet outside when temperatures are at or below 20 degrees.

You also need to bring them inside when a wind chill warning has been issued.

Leaving them out in the cold could mean a fine or jail time.

Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe and warm:

  • The best place for your pet is inside, but if kept outdoors, your pet must have access to dry shelter. A structure with space to move around will help shield animals from the cold winter air.
  • Keep animals warm and safe by using straw in outdoor shelters. Blankets and towels draw moisture and don’t provide as much insulation and warmth as straw.
  • Animals are just as susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite as you are. Bring them inside as often as you can and, when nature calls, accompany them when they venture outdoors.
  • Keep water available outside and check the dish every few hours to make sure it hasn’t frozen over. Consider investing in a heated water dish to avoid the hassle of a frozen water bowl.

If you are concerned about the safety of an animal in your neighborhood, contact the Mayor’s Action Center by dialing 317-327-4622, online at or by using the Request Indy mobile app available for iPhone and Android.

For after-hour emergencies, please call 317-327-3811.

If you have previously been found in violation of any ordinances, please contact FIDO at 317-221-1314. They can assist in making your home more suitable and safer for your pet this winter season.

For additional information on Indianapolis Animal Care Services, please visit: