Leash law for cats? Vermont law raises feline firestorm.
Leash law for cats: In Vermont, a clause in a city law to restrict roaming felines has gotten cat fanciers' dander up.
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Lauzon said Tuesday that no one on the council intended to require that cats be restrained. But on second look at the law, he realized that both the existing ordinance, adopted in 1973, and the proposed rewrite ban roaming cats; the law had just never been enforced.Skip to next paragraph
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"No owner or keeper of an animal shall allow his, theirs or its animal to run at large," the key language says. Cat owners hoping to get around the law by a whisker appeared to be out of luck. Animal is defined by the city as "every living being, not human or plant."
When the daily newspaper serving Barre, The Times Argus, ran a story about the cat restrictions last week, the caterwauling began.
Cats "are quite neat when it comes to personal scatological matters," said a letter to the editor bearing the signature Morticai Flint, who turns out to be a tiger cat owned by Paul and Alison Flint. "Generally, we provide valuable services to urban areas notably in the realm of vermin control."
Paul Flint attended the Council meeting, carrying a toy kitten in a cat carrier and explaining, "Morticai wouldn't get into the cage."
Some say the solution to cats wandering into trouble is keeping them indoors.
"Scientists estimate that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year," the Virginia-based American Bird Conservancy, which runs a "Cats Indoors!" campaign, says on its website. "Cat predation is an added stress to wildlife populations already struggling to survive habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and other human impacts."
Lauzon said the city may end up with a compromise ordinance requiring cats to wear collars with tags identifying their owners and showing their rabies shots were up-to-date. Owners would only be fined if their roaming cats were determined to be a nuisance.
The issue is expected to be settled later this summer.
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