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Hamilton County sheriff: Owners did not break law keeping dogs outside

ARCADIA, Ind. (WISH) — There’s been outrage in central Indiana about a video that has been making the rounds: a group of dogs outside in the severe cold.

On Wednesday, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said the owners did not break the law in any way.

Videos from Arcadia flooded social media and the sheriff’s office. They showed dogs at Raebark German Shepherd Dog Kennel. Wind chill temperatures were well below zero, and the dogs sitting and running outside. 

“You instantly are heart-broken for these animals,” said Jordan Hawk, who saw the video and pictures and started a petition calling for action. 

Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Bowen said the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office checked on the dogs.

“They have igloo kennels. There water is warm and not frozen. They have adequate food and shelter,” he said. 

A man at the business said has has been out there throughout the day to check the dogs. Bowen, who is Hamilton County’s former sheriff, confirmed they did nothing illegal. 

Hawk said it was reassuring to know authorities checked on the dogs. She said there needs to be clear focus on what’s next. 

“If we’re going to come together for some good cause, it should be not to beat her down and not to say she needs to close her doors and all of this, but we need to address Indiana itself and say hey this is our concern,” she said. 

She said her concern is the state code that she said doesn’t go far enough to protect animals. 

Bowen said owners have to provide a shelter.

“I don’t think it specifically defines size, shape or anything of that nature, just requires they have shelter,” he said when asked about specifics of state law.

Bowen said under Indiana’s current law, it’s not defined when it’s too hot or cold for animals to be out. Hawk said other states have stricter laws.   

An Indianapolis ordinance says it’s illegal to leave animals outside when the temperature is at or below 20 degrees or if a wind chill advisory has been issued.

Hawk created a petition to get lawmakers talking about whether the law needs to change. The petition had nearly 3,000 signatures by Wednesday night.