Cats are independent, nonchalant beings with a mind of their own.  It is not uncommon to see numerous felines roaming the streets, putting them in danger from vehicles, diseases and other predators. Alaska government officials had concerns regarding cats as pets outdoors and required they be leashed in much the same manner as dogs.

Proposed new Alaska law                                                                                                                        

Due to numerous complaints of roaming felines by various residents in the area, Kenai, Alaska Mayor Pat Porter, and council member Tim Navarre proposed a cat leash law.  Currently, cats were not listed as Animals needing restraint, but the population growth warrants the need for a proposed leash law.

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So many feral and loose cats were found in shelters, creating an over-population. Mayor Porter and Councilman Navarre believe in an ordinance to keep pet cats indoors or confined behind a fence. A leash law would also tether a cat for its safety in the same manner as dogs. Non-compliance would result in a $500 fine and should be strictly enforced, although some fear it to be impossible to monitor all loose cats.

Resident concerns    

Residents in the area had concerns about cats defecating on their property, disturbing flower beds and intruding on people’s personal property.

A Kenai resident made a statement to a Peninsula Clarion, saying “Having cats use my yard for a kitty litter box is a huge health issue, as well as being nasty, and we shouldn’t have to tolerate this.  Twice I have accidentally stuck my fingers in cat poop while trying to weed my flower garden.” Cat owners and Kenai residents find it rather absurd to tether a cat and walk it down the street to get some fresh air and stare at the birds, squirrels and more.

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In reality, some other states already have cat leash laws for the health and well-being of the felines, such as St. Louis, Englewood, Colorado, Dallas and Henderson, Nevada, just to name a few.  Unfortunately, many of these areas fail to enforce the law. That is the concern -- that the ordinance will not meet with compliance and cause more problems for animal control.

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