GREENFIELD — On a day last week when the temperature hovered in the upper 90s, officials from the Greenfield Police Department received a late afternoon call about three dogs at a residence in the 1000 block of Maple Drive. According to the caller, the Siberian Huskies had been left out in the heat all day without shelter or water.
A GPD officer immediately assessed the situation and called the Greenfield Hancock Animal Management, who took possession of the dogs when their owner could not be reached.
The dogs were in the yard when the heat index was over 105 degrees. Officials noted they could have easily died because they were also tangled in a unhealthy manner.
While an investigation is still underway surrounding the alleged abuse, officials with the GPD said the dog owner is in violation of Greenfield ordinance 90.03. The law states, “every owner or keeper of a dog kept in the city must be brought into a temperature controlled facility when the temperature is above 90 degrees…”
The ordinance is taken seriously by GPD Chief of Police Brian Hartman and his officers. Hartman wants community residents to use common sense when it comes to caring for dogs and cats in foul weather.
“If it’s too hot for a person to be outside all day, it’s definitely too hot for your animal to be outside,” Hartman said.
Hartman noted animals do not regulate temperatures the way humans do and therefore need to be brought inside where they can rest comfortably out of the elements.
“Humans can sweat, animals can’t, so they do have a harder time in the heat and the cold,” Hartman said. “We just want people to be mindful.”
Officers with the GPD and officials with Greenfield Hancock Animal Management are imploring city and county residents to think about their pets with another week of blazing temperatures slated for the next several days.
For Hartman, he can’t help but wonder in disbelief when he thinks about the dogs out in the heat all day under a beating sun. After all, he said, huskies are better suited for cold weather climate and certainly not for an all-day stay in a Greenfield back yard in the summertime.
“Whatever you might experience in this hot weather is the same if not worse for your animals,” Hartman said. “While people have them (Siberian Huskies) in Indiana, they are a dog bred for cold weather.”
Still, Hartman noted long- and short-haired dogs of all types as well as all pets will suffer in extreme weather.
“When the heat and humidity are this high and it’s hard to breath outside, it’s the same thing for pets,” he said.
Indiana is in the middle of a dangerous, potentially record-setting heat wave. Hartman asks that when community members see or hear an animal outside for an extended period of time in bad conditions to call GHAM officials at 317-477-4367 right away.
If people cannot get through to the shelter, Hartman said it’s even OK to call 911, and a law enforcement officer will get there as soon as possible to help the animal in distress.
“We’ll come out and investigate it,” Hartman said.
Greenfield Hancock Animal Management officer Heather Hamilton said she’s been on numerous heat-related runs in the city and county due to the excessive heat. In Greenfield, she can and has actually has taken dogs who are in danger back to the shelter.
“Even if a dog has water and shade outside, they can still overheat,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of dogs out there in the heat who do not have water or shelter and nobody is home, so we do take the dogs.”
Due to the fact so many people are neglecting their animals within the city limits, the GHAM temporary shelter is once again overcrowded. Officials there want to warn residents, even if they come and get their dog, they need to keep it safe and should not just put it back outside. Hamilton and other officers are continually checking on animals who have been released to make sure the abuse doesn’t continue.
“We always circle back,” Hamilton said.
Unfortunately, officials at GHAM noted the city ordinance on heat does not apply throughout the county and they cannot rescue animals outside of Greenfield unless the animal is in imminent danger. However, they are checking on all county animal distress calls and have left water when needed as well as notices for the pet owner making them aware their animal is being neglected.
“We are very thankful for the city ordinance because it does allow us to do our job and do something about animals in need,” Hamilton said.
The heat wave is expected to continue throughout the week and into the weekend with temperatures forecast well above 90 degrees through Saturday.