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Indianapolis Animal Care & Control
Dogs are social animals, requiring regular interaction with humans and other dogs. A dog kept chained alone in one spot for much of its life can suffer severe psychological damage. Friendly dogs can become neurotic, unhappy or even aggressive after being kept continuously chained. The necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores due to the dogs’ constant yanking and straining to escape their confinement. Embedded collars are common in chained dogs, either because of the constant pulling at the tether or from neglectful humans who fail to properly monitor the growth of the dog and size of the collar. Chained dogs frequently become entangled in their chains, and find themselves without access to their food, water or shelter. All too frequently, chained dogs hang themselves by jumping over a nearby fence or wall.
City ordinances also specify the way in which a dog may be tethered. A dog “shall not be tethered by use of a choke collar, or any collar too small for the size and age of the animal, or by any rope, chain or cord directly attached to the animal’s neck.” A dog tethered by choke collar or similar could easily strangle or hang himself without proper supervision. The ordinance also dictates the length and type of tether, as an animal on too short of a tether or an improper one is at risk for injury or even death. In Indianapolis, a tether may not be shorter than twelve feet in length, and must have swivels at both ends. The tether must also not be of an unreasonable weight that prevents the dog from moving about freely, such as heavy, thick chains.
While tethering a dog for short periods of time can be a good solution when a fence is not present, owners who keep their dogs continuously chained are in violation of the law and basic animal welfare.  It is important to ensure that the city’s ordinances are followed for the safety of the dog, other animals, and persons in our community.  FIDO (Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside) is a local organization that works in partnership with the City by offering free or very low-cost supplies and services, such as inside training crates and fencing, to dog owners who want to comply with the tethering laws.
To contact FIDO: Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside, visit their website at
From and drawn by Patrick McDonnell.
For more information on chained dogs and why chaining is dangerous and considered cruel, please visit the following links:
To report animal abuse or neglect in Indianapolis, please call 327-4MAC or visit











Animal In​take Hours:
Mon - Sat: 12 noon - 6 p.m. Closed: Sundays & City Holidays​

Shelter Hours:
Monday : 10am - 8pm