Concord, USA Making History Again
Concord, USA. Photo by PnP! (Flickr)
Article 45, a draft cat bylaw, has been introduced to the people of historical Concord for their approval or rejection (27th April 2012). The bylaw seeks to address that age-old problem of stray and free-roaming cats. There is no doubt that this subject polarizes the population more than any other and has created discord in Concord.
Concord is named after the agreement that was arrived at peacefully, between the British settlers and the local Native Americans, that resulted in the purchase of six square miles of prime farming land where the town was built. Also the battle of Lexington and Concord of April 19th 1775, was the first battle in the American Revolutionary War.
The war on free-roaming cats is the new battle ground but this is a civil war.
Article 45 seeks to place cats under the same or similar rules to those that govern dogs in public places (as far as I understand it - there is nothing on the internet at the date of this posting as far as I can tell).
I think the idea is to put cats on leashes when outside although that is not specified in the byelaw. Cat owners could, and lots no doubt do, simply keep cats inside all the time or inside a secure enclosure. However the new Article 45 cat bylaw would allow the local authority to impound cats running loose.
The person who has submitted the bylaw, Ms Lodynsky, rather vaguely says that, "..Article 45 does not penalize owners who allow cats to roam free outdoors…(it) creates a platform for addressing cat-related disputes as a result of free-roaming".
Ms Lodynsky is one of many who takes objection to free-roaming cats and who has blamed them for killing birds in her garden. I wonder how she figured that out? Did she do a proper study? The heck she did. Studies have established that free-roaming cats do not have the impact on birds that bird conservationists say they have.
We will see what happens next. It is probably fair to say that the issue of free-roaming cats is linked to irresponsible cat caretaking and that issue needs to be addressed generally in order to tackle the "feral cat problem". (note: I am not saying that all free-roaming cats are due to irresponsible cat caretaking).
There needs to be a wider approach to tackling these problems at root rather than insisting on the cat caretakers of Concord to put their cat on a leash.
That said, cat leashes are perfectly acceptable. When I lived in Paris, France, I remember seeing a beautiful tabby cat following his mistress around on a leash in rush hour. It looked unusual, granted, but is also seemed perfectly natural and above all, sensible.