ANDERSON — The Anderson City Council joined other Indiana communities in adopting an ordinance to provide adequate care for dogs.
The council voted 8-1 in favor with Councilman Ollie H. Dixon casting the lone no vote on Thursday.
Councilman Greg Graham amended the ordinance to include provisions for law enforcement to deal with dogs in abandoned buildings or on vacant lots.
No member of the public voiced opposition to the amendment or the ordinance at this meeting or at the April council meeting.
Maleah Stringer, director of the Animal Protection League, said the agency receives frequent calls about animals left in vacant homes or on vacant lots.
She said in some cases the dogs’ owners only return on a weekly basis to feed and provide water for the animals in houses with no utilities.
“This will go to handling the dog fighting and pit bull problem in our city,” Stringer said. “This will allow animal control officers to remove the animals.”
She said people sometimes move and leave their pets behind.
Dixon asked if the amended ordinance would allow someone to enter a home that is owned by an individual.
City Attorney Tim Lanane said the amendment makes it a violation of the city’s animal control ordinance to leave a pet in an abandoned house or on a vacant lot.
“The police can cite the owner and obtain a warrant,” Lanane said.
Dixon said he supports protecting animals but was concerned about the entry on private property.
“There is nothing in our current ordinance making it a violation to keep an animal in an abandoned home,” Lanane said.
Graham said the amendment was added to deal with a problem brought to his attention by the Anderson Police Department.
Stringer said animals left in an abandoned home eventually become an environmental issue and the property has to be condemned.
“They die a horrible death,” she said.
The ordinance addresses four topics: tethering dogs for 24 hours at a time; proper animal shelters; placing dogs in heated areas when temperatures drop below 20 degrees; and conforming the city ordinance to state law regarding dog fighting.