With a winter storm warning in the forecast through this morning, the blustery weather made me think about keeping our animals safe.
When I was young, my parents had a couple of Collie dogs. I only remember them from the black-and-white snapshots taken with our old Brownie camera. My mom said the dogs started chasing cars and both were hit and killed.
When I was a little older, I asked to adopt a cat and fed and cared for the white long-haired feline her whole life, through several litters of kittens, which we usually gave away to good homes. Back then, I don’t recall that cats or dogs were house pets as much as the animals are today. Our Collies were outdoor dogs, and our cats spent their lives outdoors, too. We had a big yard and lived in a rural area surrounded by farm fields, so having our animals outdoors just seemed natural. We later transformed my playhouse into a warm shelter for the cat. I remember waking up one morning during the Blizzard of ‘78, when the snow was up to our bedroom windows. And when I looked out the window, there was Snowball, my cat, sitting atop the snow at window level, waiting for her Purina Cat Chow breakfast.
Fast forward to 2021, when leaving animals outdoors is more frowned upon. According to statistics, 67 percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to a 2019-20 National Pet Owners survey.
I never had a dog or a cat since I lived at home as a kid. Until after my daughter was born 14-½ years ago. When she was 3, an 11-week-old puppy was introduced into our home. That puppy, DaisyBelle, a Parson Russell Terrier, is turning 12 this spring. “That’s 84 for you and me,” actor Lorne Greene would have said. Some of you may remember Greene as spokesperson for Alpo Beef Chunks dog food in the 1970s and ‘80s, and he always shared the age of the dog and dog years, based on the seven-year rule. Newer studies have shown that ratio is off a lot, and our dog’s age could be closer to 71.
As I look back, I couldn’t have imagined 12 years ago that I would ever have gotten attached to that dog.
I’ve never thought of myself as a dog person. Although dogs often gravitate to me.
When we brought home DaisyBelle, I didn’t want a dog in my house, to have to worry about dog hair on my clothes, and fleas, and chewed-up stuff. I didn’t know how to take care of a dog. I had no great memories of having a dog as a kid. I would have been happy to put her in the backyard and leave her there, day and night. I also didn’t like having to worry about what I was going to do with a dog when I wanted to go on vacation, or just being away all day at work.
But my family wanted a puppy. We wanted my daughter to grow up with a dog like her dad did. So I agreed. I even helped pick out the puppy. Although, I still didn’t want to give in and become a dog person. DaisyBelle ended up being a crate-trained dog that traveled many miles with us.
And now I can’t imagine not having that loveable protector, DaisyBelle, who can be as mean as a snake.
And now that it’s winter and really cold outside, I try to make sure that I only let her out for only a couple of minutes at a time, and she’s ready to come back in anyways.
Coincidentally, the Noblesville Police Department just updated the City’s animal control ordinances.
Keeping animals safe during the cold weather is among the duties and responsibilities of animal owners addressed in the City’s newly revised animal control ordinances in Chapter 90 of the City’s Code of Ordinances.
Noblesville Deputy Chief Shane Ginnan attended last week’s Noblesville Common Council meeting with the updates.
It’s the first time in more than 15 years, since 2004, that the animal control ordinances have been updated. It was when the Council consisted of Laurie Hurst, Terry Busby, Brian Ayer, Alan Hinds, Mary Sue Rowland, Dale Snelling and Kathie Stretch.
Ginnan and his team removed antiquated language and some unenforceable sections and adopted definitions to use the same as the Humane Society for Hamilton County, as a request from the nonprofit, for more universal enforcement in Hamilton County, Ginnan said.
When the temperature is at or below 40 F, animals kept outdoors are required to have access to adequate shelter, food and water, and space, including dry bedding material or other means of protection from the weather that will allow the animal to retain body heat when the weather is colder than what an animal of that breed and condition can comfortably tolerate, or the animal must have continued and uninterrupted access to a climate-controlled space, according to the revised ordinances.
In extreme weather conditions and temperatures, including wind-chill warnings that have been issued by local, state or national authority, animals must be monitored by a competent person and have access to adequate shelter, food and water.
None of the animal control ordinances restrict livestock guard dogs, working dogs, or those dogs involved in lawful hunting activities. Nor do the ordinances restrict a dog from going outdoors to relieve him or herself and exercise if monitored.
Other animal control ordinances enforced include current rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats 3 months old or older. While horses and ponies are allowed, no exotic animals are allowed without federal or state permits, and no person shall keep, raise, confine or feed hogs, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep or cows within the corporate limits of the city unless in an area zoned agriculture. It is also unlawful for any person, except park employees or persons acting with the permission of park employees, to feed, scatter food or leave food of any type or kind in the parks, playgrounds, playfields, parkways, boulevards and streets of the city, for birds, pigeons or other fowl.
Also, persons finding a stray animal are to notify the Noblesville Police Department or Humane Society for Hamilton County within 48 hours, At the agencies’ discretion, the animal may be kept by the finder and a found-pet report left with the NPD or Humane Society, to enable the finder an opportunity to return the animal to its rightful owner…. Any found animal after a seven-day period of either with the finder or the NPD or shelter, without being unclaimed by its rightful owner, becomes the property of NPD or the shelter. There are lots of other animal ordinances, too many to write about in this column. To read the revised animal control ordinances shown to the Common Council a week ago, visit https://bit.ly/3jTVcuz
Keep those dogs and cats indoors as much as you can this week.

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