Photo provided
Karlee Lantzer, a 2013 Hamilton Heights High School graduate, shown with her two chihuahuas, Nugget and Gypsy, is helping share an online petition started three days ago by Jordan Jamison Hawk of Arcadia to get the state law changed because they want to see a clear definition of when pets need to be brought indoors from the elements.
Photo provided Karlee Lantzer, a 2013 Hamilton Heights High School graduate, shown with her two chihuahuas, Nugget and Gypsy, is helping share an online petition started three days ago by Jordan Jamison Hawk of Arcadia to get the state law changed because they want to see a clear definition of when pets need to be brought indoors from the elements.

Mother Nature has brought some frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills our way over the past couple of days.

Schools, businesses and nonprofits were closed Wednesday and Thursday, and even the U.S. Postal Service suspended delivery the past two days.
Another winter advisory was in effect from Thursday afternoon until this morning with three inches of snow in today’s forecast.

While the temperatures are expected to climb to 26 F today, making it feel like a heatwave for some (I bet we see some crazy people wearing shorts), all of the snow will likely melt as the temperatures are forecast to rise to 44 F on Saturday, 52 F on Sunday and 56 F on Monday.

This is definitely Indiana.

Over the past couple of days, we’ve stayed in and out of the cold. And we’ve made sure that our pets have shelter from the weather. We’ve allowed our little terrier to go outside as she wants, but only for five minutes at a time. I set my timer on the stove to make sure that I bring her in, just in case I get distracted doing something else for the moment.

Sharon McMahon, retired Noblesville Chamber of Commerce president, inquired Thursday about why adjacent Marion County has strict ordinances on bringing pets inside in extreme weather, and “Hamilton County does not legislate that.” 

The county’s ordinance pertaining to animal laws, for cats, dogs and ferrets states that animals have “shelter from weather” and “access to shelter” and that animals “can reach fresh food and/or water 24 hours a day."

“I can tell you as a pet owner that any available water or food is immediately frozen in this weather, and no pet can withstand these temperatures without being in complete distress and misery,” said McMahon, who also wrote to County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt on Thursday morning to ask if the ordinance, which is vague, could be “upgraded.”

Heirbrandt is a pet owner and sits on the Humane Society for Hamilton County board of which he is very involved. With the recent dangerous weather,  Heirbrandt said the county views this as “an opportunity to revisit the current ordinance and include better language that helps define what is adequate and proper care for the animals of Hamilton County.”

Other pet lovers here in Hamilton County have already started the ball rolling. 

Veterinary assistant Karlee Lantzer, a 2013 Hamilton Heights High School graduate, is helping share an online petition, at change.org, started three days ago by Jordan Jamison Hawk of Arcadia, to get the state law changed because they want to see a clear definition of when pets need to be brought indoors from the elements. 

So far, about 4,700 people have signed it online. (Lantzer is actually my daughter’s former assistant basketball coach at the Boys & Girls Club of Noblesville) She has four dogs who all live inside, Dobie, a 9-year-old Doberman; Buck, a 6-year-old Beagle; and two Chihuahuas, Nugget and Gypsy, ages 3 and 5. 

Lantzer said, “We need a law in place for when inclement weather is forecasted.”

She said, “Marion County has a great law in place that states, ‘It’s against a city-county ordinance to leave pets outside when it’s -20 F or in cases in which the city is under a wind chill advisory. Violating the ordinance would result in fines of up to $200.’”

Hawk’s plea to share the message on Facebook is to “get some changes for the animals,” she said. Hawk and husband, Drew Hawk (by the way, who organized the Festival of Hope Recovery Rocks Benefit Concert in 2017 at Federal Hill Commons in Noblesville) own Ruger, a Labrador, and Brynn, a Boxador who just gave birth to 11 new pups, all spoken for, Drew Hawk said.

At the Humane Society for Hamilton County, snowy and cold weather has taken a toll not only on the animals and staff but also on the building. The Noblesville shelter reported one of its yards, used for animals (with coughs and sniffles) in isolation, has fallen into disrepair. The need is “critical,” as the shelter searches for a group or individual that can “inspect the yard and determine the best plan for repair, complete the repair and assist with funding.” To help, send email to operations@hamiltonhumane.com.

The Humane Society earlier this week urged pet owners to please bring pets inside and only allow them short, supervised bathroom breaks.

We at The Times encourage common sense when it comes to keeping your pet warm and supplied with fresh food and water.

We have received many tips for taking care of pet during cold temperatures, and I share some with you now, from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

*Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside.
*Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
*Wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals, and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
* Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
*Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage.
*Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories and making sure pet has plenty of water to drink will keep animal well-hydrated and skin less dry.
*Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from draws. Maybe a cozy dog of cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow?
*Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com