New Law Could Require Leashes on Cats

by | April 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM | General

A proposed law in Concord, Mass., could force cats on leashes.

The town of Concord, Mass., is considering a new law that could hearten bird-lovers, yet put a cumbersome restraint on feline owners.

That law would be a requirement to keep local cats off private property – even if that means putting them on a leash or tying them up, the Boston Globe reports.

The proposed ordinance is being pushed by resident Lydia Lodynsky, who says area cats slaughtered a cardinal, morning dove, two bluebirds, and a black cap chickadee in her yard before dismantling a bird feeder.

With Concord being the famed stomping ground of writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, the debate has gained a heightened pitch regarding the nature of cats and birds.

Under Lodynsky’s proposed measure, if a neighbor requests that a cat be kept off their property, that cat’s owner has to do something to keep the pet from stalking nearby yards. Even if that means tying the pet up while outdoors.

“We don’t even have a leash law for dogs, just that they must be under control,’’ Anita Tekle, the town clerk, told the Boston Globe. “So if you whistle and the dog comes home, it’s under your control. I’m not aware that you can do that with cats.’’

She said the cat-restraint law could be the first of its kind in the state.

Barbara Lynn-Davis, a neighbor of Lodynsky, is an avid bird watcher. Yet she isn’t backing the cat-restraint law, which she sees as something designed to protect the bird-feeding station Lodynsky set up in her yard.

“It seems to inhibit [the cats'] freedom to roam and discover,” Lynn-Davis told the paper. “She’s asking the cats to be curtailed to maintain this artificial environment that she created to give her pleasure, but the birds don’t need that.’’

Lodynsky’s response? Cats aren’t part of the natural order, either.

“They were brought here and domesticated; they aren’t part of the natural food chain,’’ she told the Globe. “My stand is that I’m trying to help these birds survive us.’’

The town will take up the vote during an April 25 meeting, when residents will decide: Should cats be allowed to roam free, or are the birds of Concord under an unjust assault that needs checking?