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New Indiana law prevents convicted animal abusers from owning companion animals for period of time

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A Johnson County man has been arrested after investigators say he and his wife neglected their dog. Sheriff deputies arrested 33-year-old Michael Setser and are currently looking for his wife Amanda.

Law enforcement wants to remind people that dogs are protected under Indiana law, and new legislation could keep offenders from possessing another animal for a length of time.

People can be arrested for abandonment, hurting, or neglecting their pet, but Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside and other groups think the language is vague.

Add to that, the Governor signed a bill this month that stops someone convicted of animal cruelty from being able to own, harbor, or train an companion animal.

"Now they can file criminal charges of cruelty, and then restrict the person from owning or keeping animals for a period of time," Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside Executive Director Darcie Kurtz said.

In addition to this, several counties have their own set of ordinances in place.

In Marion County, dogs can’t be chained or tethered outside from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

If it’s 80 degrees outside, dogs need some sort of shade, and if it’s warmer than 90 degrees, they have to be brought inside.

"People don’t necessarily think dogs are suffering like they are during extreme cold, but they do, especially these longer haired dogs," Kurtz said.

FIDO says they always try to inform animal owners about the law before getting them into legal trouble. They believe education is key to being the best pet owner.

"It’s just like having a car or anything else. You have to learn how to maintain it, and having an animal, the big part of it is maintenance. It’s the day to day interaction," dog owner Matthew Rutledge said.

FIDO says there are not many laws or ordinances in place for cats. They say as long someone is properly taking care of the outside cat they are free to roam around.

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