City Council passes animal ordinance

From left: Vietta McKenzie, Kevin Fleetwood, Rick Emsweller. The Greensburg City Council passed a new animal ordinance on second reading Monday night.

GREENSBURG – The Greensburg City Council passed an animal ordinance on second reading Monday evening.

According to Decatur County Animal Shelter Director Ashley Hennen, the ordinance is intended to give the community better guidelines on how to handle pets during the heat of summer or the cold of winter.

The ordinance was first reported by the Daily News in June 2019.

Now that the ordinance has been passed on second reading, it is now officially in place.

“Our main concern was the safety of animals,” Hennen said. “We’re hoping this gives better guidelines for that.”

The ordinance states that when a dog is confined outside it:

(1) Has access to shelter that is made of weather resistant material, consisting of a structure with all solid sides, a dry floor raised above the ground, and a solid roof to protect the dog from weather and extreme cold or heat.

During winter and any day the weather reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below, the shelter must be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around, the entrance must be covered by flexible wind-proofing material or self-closing door, and must contain clean, dry bedding, which must consist of an insulating material that does not retain moisture such as straw, not blankets, of sufficient depth to allow the dog to burrow.

On any day when the temperature is at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the shelter must be shaded by trees, a tarp, or a tarp-like device.

(2) Dog breeds that are susceptible in extreme weather should be brought in to a temperature controlled facility, or when a heat advisory, freeze advisory, or a tornado warning has been issued by local, state, or national authority, except when the dog is in visual range of a competent adult who remains outside with the dog.

(3) Small breed dogs, which are defined as dogs that are less than 25 pounds and short hair, must be brought into a temperature-controlled facility when the temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below and 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

(4) Medium breed dogs, which are defined as dogs that weigh between 25 -75 pounds, must be brought into a temperature-controlled facility when the temperature reaches 25 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

(5) Large breed dogs, which are defined as dogs that weigh more than 75 pounds, must be brought into a temperature-controlled facility when the temperature reaches 15 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

(6) As different breeds can thrive in different weather the final decision will be left to the determination of the Animal Control Officer. The breeds listed above are used for example and not meant to be the only breeds included.

The ordinance also says shelter from freezing weather, snow, and rain must be provided for animals. Tied animals must have access to a shaded area at all times, and no animal shall be left in an automobile or similar enclosure without proper ventilation.

Similarly, living quarters and enclosures for animals shall be kept dry, clean, and free of drafts and vermin, according to the ordinance. Houses or shelters for animals shall have such materials as straw, hay, shavings, or some other such material for the winter bedding.

For any violation of these rules, a fine of $20 will be issued for the first offense with fines increasing in increments of $20 for each subsequent offense within one year of the first offense, but not more than $1,000.

Hennen also mentioned that the city will eliminate the maximum number of animals rule, and will now look at living conditions of animals instead. Hennen said living conditions should be safe and clean for the animal.

The city council unanimously passed the ordinance.

The council consists of Jamie Cain, Darrell Poling, Vietta McKenzie, Rick Emsweller and Kevin Fleetwood.

Joshua Heath can be contacted at 812-663-3111 ext. 217401 or at

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