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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With dangerous wind chills on the way to central Indiana, it’s critical for Indy residents to bring their pets inside.

In fact, it’s the law in Indianapolis.

It’s against a city-county ordinance to leave pets outside when it’s below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or in cases in which the city is under a wind chill advisory. Violating the ordinance could result in fines of up to $200.

If you are concerned about the safety of a pet in your neighborhood, call the Mayor’s Action Center at 317-327-4622. For emergencies after hours, call 317-327-3811.

You can also report an address on the Request Indy website or app (iOS or Android). To report an animal outside, select “animals” and then “abuse.” Information submitted through the app goes to on-duty animal care officers.

Indianapolis Animal Care Services offered the following tips to keep your pets safe and warm during bitter winter weather:

  • 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 your animal from the cold winter air.
  • Keep your pet warm and safe by using straw in outdoor shelters, not blankets and towels. Blankets and towels draw moisture and don’t provide as much insulation and warmth as straw.
  • Your pets 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.
  • Make sure you keep water available outside and check the dish every few hours to make sure the water hasn’t frozen over. Consider investing in a heated water dish to avoid the hassle of a frozen water bowl.