ASPCA Commends Indiana Gov. Holcomb for Signing Fire Safety Bill to Enhance Protections for Animals

S.B. 277 requires new animal facilities to have fire safety measures in place
May 3, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Eric Holcomb for enacting Senate Enrolled Act 277 to require facilities that house dogs or cats overnight to have an operating fire alarm system that automatically contacts the local fire or police department, or staff present in the building any time a dog or cat is on site.

Senate Enrolled Act 277 applies to animal facilities constructed or remodeled after June 30, 2023, and defines “animal facility” to include pet stores, veterinary hospitals, commercial overnight boarding facilities, and animal shelters. This new law is designed to prevent pets from suffering or perishing in fires and reduce risk for first responders.

Authored by Senators Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis), and Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) and sponsored by Representatives Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) and Mike Andrade (D-Munster), this new law was a reaction to a tragic 2021 fire at an Indianapolis pet store that killed more than 100 animals due to smoke inhalation.

“Emergencies come in many forms, often with little warning, and it’s imperative to establish emergency response plans before disaster strikes to prevent further devastation,” said Sana Azem, senior legislative director for the ASPCA, Midwest division. “Ensuring facilities that house animals overnight are equipped with automatic fire alarm systems or staff on site any time a dog or cat is present is critical to protecting animals and the people who risk their lives to save them, and we thank Governor Holcomb for signing this bill into law.”

"I was happy to author this bill and see it receive unanimous support throughout the process. It is great when the entire General Assembly can get behind common sense legislation like this that will help prevent needless tragedies in our communities and keep our pets safe from harm,” said Sen. Freeman.

"As a dog father myself, it's important for pet families to feel confident in the facilities they entrust to care for their dogs and cats,” said Rep. Andrade. “That includes having basic protocols in place to keep the animals they're responsible for safe.”

Senate Enrolled Act 277 is set to take effect July 1, 2023. For more information about the ASPCA, or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit