TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)-If you are an owner of pets or livestock you could be affected by some proposed changes in Tippecanoe county.
Monday the Tippecanoe County Commissioners approved the first reading of several changes to the Animal Control code. The Tippecanoe County animal control officer says these changes help better the welfare of animals.
"In the six years that I have done this I've seen that there are things that we might be able to change to make my job easier, and make things better for the animals,” said Seth Kirkendall Animal Control Office. "We found that these ordinances will do that."
Six major changes were made to the ordinance. One is that owners of commercial livestock operations can be held liable for damages if their animals escape their designated enclosure.
"That has probably been a legal doctrine for a while but we wanted to include it in the ordinance itself," said Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tracy Brown.
Another change is that the Animal Control officer will establish a feral cat program to help reduce cat numbers in the county. It won't make the cats' caretakers their owners if they notify the county within 24 hours.
"We are concerned that yeah we are going to trap and release these cats but we also want somebody to take care of them and the person that takes care of them we want them to protected under our ordinance," added officer Kirkendall.
Another big change is that pet owners must provide their pets with an adequate amount of exercise which was an issue animal control officers say they couldn't address before.
"It's not ok to just open a bag of dog food lay it on the floor and have automatic water and go away for two weeks,” said Kirkendall.
Before, animal control officers couldn't prosecute this type of behavior because the dog was viewed as taken care of.
"There's not legally anything I could do about it because the animal was taken care of,” added Kirkendall.
If these changes are approved officers will now consider this type of treatment towards a dog as abuse.
The two other changes include a requirement that owners maintain sanitary living conditions for all animals. However, they will not limit the number of animals someone can have. Every situation will be looked at on a case by case basis.
Also, dogs who are on the vicious list will no longer be called "vicious" instead they will be considered "hazardous. "