By Heather Collins
The Board of Commissioners of Boone County have made major updates to the existing Animal Control ordinance to help protect the health and welfare of animals throughout Boone County.
Deputy Hannah Fisher, animal control officer for the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept., drafted the initial version of the updated ordinance. The final ordinance was a collaborative effort between the Sheriff’s Office, County Attorney Bob Clutter, the Humane Society of Boone County, and county commissioners with public input.
The new ordinance went into effect June 4 and focuses on higher standards of care for domestic animals and requires mandatory ID tags and restraints for domestic animals. Penalties for violating the ordinance include fines ranging from $50 to $1,000. The Animal Control Division, led by Fisher, launched in January.
“The Boone County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division has seen several cases of animal cruelty and neglect already this year and, among other things, continues to see problems with loose and stray animals,” Fisher said. “The ordinance will help combat some of these issues and will also serve as a deterrent.”
Fisher said Indiana, compared to other states, has weak animal cruelty laws. She said Boone County was one of a handful of counties that did not have an animal control program or comprehensive ordinance. She said the new ordinance provides more protection to more animals, helps quickly process warnings and citations and allows animals to get help quicker.
Fisher said some of the important points of the ordinance include the definition of a domestic animal, the requirement of permanent identification and the definition of abandonment.
Fisher said the next step is to present the ordinance to various municipalities within the county so that all animals are offered the same protections.
For information, visit the Boone County Indiana Sheriff’s Animal Control Division group on Facebook. To view the full ordinance, click on the files tab on the group’s page.