“I just got a ticket for my cat being outside, in my yard,” says a Murray, Utah resident after she was ticketed for being in violation of a city ordinance banning cats and dogs from being outside without being on a leash or ‘secured.’
Kate Anderson lives in Murray, Utah. Her cat, Milo, has a cat door where Kate says Milo is treated as a member of the family and ‘comes and goes and is a cat.’ So she was shocked when animal control showed up and gave her a citation that charges Kate with two misdemeanors for letting Milo lie on their property on the lawn.
Someone took a photo of Milo on Monday and reported him to animal control. Kate stated in an interview with Fox13 News
“I just got a ticket for my cat being outside, in my yard. This is a cat who is neutered and micro-chipped and vaccinated, and is not a menace to society.”
Kate has to call for her court date but since the citations are Class B misdemeanors (the first for ‘animal at large’ and the second for Milo not wearing a license on a collar). Kate compares the ‘at large’ charge as being ‘like a fugitive.’
The ordinance has been around since 1963 and forbids any animal to run at large, cats included. It reads in part
“It is unlawful for the owner or person having charge, care, custody or control of any animal to allow such animal at any time to run at large. The owner or person charged with responsibility of an animal found running loose shall be strictly liable for a violation of this section and for any injury to a person or another animal, or property damage caused by such animal running at large, regardless of the precautions taken to prevent the escape of the animal and regardless of whether the owner or person charged with responsibility knows that the animal is running at large.”
Murray City considers any animal not on a leash, confined to a vehicle or in a secured yard (even on the owners’ property) to be in violation.
City Attorney G.L. Critchfield said that although Milo is technically in violation the charges are likely to be dismissed against Kate, who thinks the ordinance is antiquated and should be amended. Critchfield says that isn’t likely to happen.
Who do you agree is in the right here? Your comments are welcome. Personally, I’m too paranoid to allow my cats to live outside. Too many things can go wrong (criminal or not).