Proposal To Fine Cat Owners When Cats Trespass On Property

Stray Cat

Tiger and Princess may not be able to go for their daily roams around the neighborhood anymore.

A councilman in Attleboro, Massachusetts is proposing an ordinance that would regulate cat owners to keep their cats on their own property. If a cat is found to be trespassing and out of the owner’s yard, fines up to $100 each incident could be imposed.

Councilman Brian Kirby said his proposal is in response to complaints from two residents. He said he knows his proposal “may not go anywhere”, but he said the problem needs to be addressed.

One resident complained about a neighbor’s cat that jumped over a fence into his property and killed a pet bird. Another complained about a cat that scratched his car and left his yard “smelling like a litter box.”

Kirby said he is not suggesting that cats are kept indoors, but he wants to see legislation put in place if they are endangering other pets or using other people’s properties as litter boxes.

He did acknowledge a cat control ordinance may be hard to enforce.

His proposal say “no owner or keeper of a cat shall cause or permit such cat, whether licensed or unlicensed, to run at large or be a public nuisance within the city of Attleboro.”

Seven council members sided with Kirby, while one member said the proposal was ridiculous.

“In all my 12 years on the city council, it is one of the most ridiculous proposals I’ve ever seen,” the council member said. “To try to contain a cat like a dog is ridiculous.”

“What it would basically do is outlaw outdoor cats,” he said. “Even super-progressive communities haven’t sunk that low.”

Source: The Sun Chronicle

Photo: Lunar Eye

30 Responses to “Proposal To Fine Cat Owners When Cats Trespass On Property”

  1. Lynne says:

    I remember how upset my grandmother would get when the cats would scratch around in her flower beds. I suggested leaving orange and lemon peels in the beds.

  2. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    Cats SHOULD be kept indoors! If someone has cats that want to go outside then they SHOULD be kept from leaving their owner’s property, not just because their neighbors might not like the cats on their property but for their own safety. A cat that is indoors or in it’s own yard won’t be getting hit by cars or be exposed to any of the other dangers out there for roaming cats.

    It’s just common sense.

  3. Amanda says:

    Don’t like their yards being used as litter boxes. Hmm well I guess we should just confine all nature because that is exactly what birds, squirrels and other animals do. This is called nature, it happens, we just have to deal with it. There are several things people can do to keep unwanted critters out of their yards, they just need to invest some time and money into it. What are they going to do about the strays?? Fine God $100?

  4. catmom5 says:

    I agree that cats should be indoors or outdoors only under supervision. This would be a tough law/ordinance to enforce, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect cat owners to be responsible. (Sky Eyes has given some very compelling reasons why this is best for the cats, too!)

  5. Karen Goodhart says:

    I’m for keeping cats indoors. Their safety has to come first. It only takes one time for a cat to roam too far or chase a bug into a road to be injured or killed.

    Also, when a cat is spooked, they can be vicious and could injure someone else. My cat (who would never hurt me under normal circumstances) attacked me when he was scared by our dog and I cringe to think what he would have done to a small child.

    Karen Goodhart
    PW, GA

  6. Lynnie says:

    My neighbor keeps her cat on a line outside while she’s out doing her gardening. Why can’t cats be confined while outdoors just like dogs? Not that I would ever want a pet of mine roaming, but if cats are allowed to roam, why not dogs? Equal treatment, it’s about time.

  7. mittens says:

    i am quite familiar with Attleboro. my mother lives down there and it’s not exactly a metropolis. it’s actually one of those places you can let your cat outside in relative saftey. i gave my mother 2 of my indoor cats and they lived to near 20 running around outside, survived the house burning down and dodged the occassional coyote. i knew they were happier with her going outside and couldn’t bear to bring them back to the city where i’d have to keep them in.

    all growing up our fixed female cats never really roamed and seemed to stay in the large yard. in all honesty i would not consider letting the cats i have now outside but i really see nothing wrong with it in a less urban area-tagged and with appropriate up to date shots all around. i wouldn’t do it but i don’t consider people like my mother who do evil or stupid. those cats were old and happy and died of natural age related causes. you can’t beat that.

    what the HELL is your ‘ pet’ bird doing outside where something can get it? is this why places like craiglist are filled with missing bird posts? i have 2 cockatiels( and 5 cats) and have never had any problems because i keep the damn birds caged and safe and out of reach of cats, grabby toddlers and open doors.

    when people keep their criminal out of control deviant children and teenagers inside maybe we can talk…

    i hate this freaking state. my city outlawed leaf blowers .black cats with orange eyes and double paws who leave a larger than normal carbon paw print are next.

  8. Victor Tabbycat's Mom says:

    Madison, Wisconsin has a “leash law” that applies to cats. You almost never see roaming cats except on farms. My first cat, in California, insisted on being allowed outside to do his business; he refused to use a litter box. All the neighbors’ cats roamed, too, and no one had a yard that smelled bad unless they had dogs. I miss taking walks after dinner and meeting friendly neighborhood cats.

  9. momkat says:

    We are currently going through a mini-hell with our new next door neighbor whose cat has sprayed urine into our sliding glass doors in the bedroom, and soaked our 2 wooden decks with her urine markings. We can’t go outside or open a window because the smell of urine is so strong. All summer, we couldn’t even enjoy a barbecue on our own deck!

    We have 5 indoor-only cats, and the neighbor’s cat is a spayed female. …all of ours are spayed since before they were sexually mature.
    She has also been doing the same thing to my other next door neighbor’s house and she only has one indoor only spayed female cat….and another neighbor who has lived in her for 28 years, and NEVER had a cat!
    This cat is holding us all hostage in our homes because of the stench she’s leaving on everyone’s home.

    The owner of the cat is renting the house, and refuses to do anything about it because he says his cat has a God-given right to be free! The homes here are in the $500K-$million range….so it’s not a dumpy area!

    Outdoor cats can be a menace to the neighborhood …just the same as inconsiderate people can….and I wish our city would try to pass a law like that!

    By the way…we HAVE tried using repellents and they don’t work! The cat has sprayed into our open windows!!!
    We can’t open our windows anymore!!!
    It isn’t fair to people who have respect for others’ property!

  10. pat says:

    i’m sorry, but the people who are complaining about this have neighbor problems, not cat problems. and i would have thought that a town councilman would have more taxing issues to bring up in meetings than this. as for keeping my cats indoors, that’s for me to decide, and possibly my neighbor, but not the town council, or anyone else who isn’t directly involved. i’m sick to death of legislation and ordinances and litigation for things that can usualy be solved by a simple conversation over a cup of coffee.

    i just looked at the attleboro town ordinances, and for allowing a dog to roam, first offense is a warning, second offense is $75, third offense is $100. are cats to be afforded the same leeway, or are roaming cats so much more terrible than dogs that they go directly to the $100 fine?

  11. becky says:

    Cat’s should have to stay on their owners property just like dogs.
    Like other’s have said it’s safer for the cat and it’s respecting your neighbor.
    I have five indoor cats.

    I live in town near a busy street.
    I do not appreciate my neighbor’s cats spraying my front porch.
    I don’t appreciate them using my wicker as scratching posts.
    And it saddens me to think that sooner or later that cat is going to get hit or going to get into a fenced yard with dogs or eat something toxic….

    I wish the city I lived in would look into something like this since some cat owners aren’t responsible enough to look after their cat or respect their enough to keep their pet off of other’s property.

  12. 2CatMom says:

    Pat: It may be an owner problem but at some point it will become the cat’s problem - possibly fatal problem. Someone is going to put out something that will accidently or intentionally kill the cat.

    It sounds like Momkat’s neighbors are all pretty nice people because they have their own cats. And it sounds like they have already tried to talk to this neighbor.

    Just wait till that cat sprays on someone’s door who doesn’t like animals. Poison will be put out and that’ll be the end of the cat. And yes, it will be the owner’s fault, but the cat will pay the ultimate price.

  13. pat says:

    2CatMom, I agree that Momkat has a legitimate problem, but I don’t think it’s appropriate that every cat in town should have to stay inside because of one inconsiderate neighbor and one problem cat. My eldest cat has managed to live for a couple of decades without ever spraying anybody’s doors or porch, or killing anybody’s birds. If one of my neighbors had a complaint about him, I would do everything I could to rectify the situation, including keeping him inside if necessary. Until then, I see no reason to deny him the pleasure of lying in a pile of leaves, or climbing the stone walls around our property or just feeling the breeze in his face. He’s not bothering anybody, and I would be pretty darn mad at our local town council if they ignored all the really pressing business of government to create legislation denying this most inoffensive of animals the simple joy of taking a walk.

  14. Moonbeams says:

    I think cats should be inside if at all possible in neighborhoods with nearby neighbors. I adopted a kitty that lived on a dairy farm and was used to be outside - kitty hated being inside. My crazy neighbor started giving my kitty treats as a way of being friendly to me, even though I told him not to, then his wife got upset at kitty being on their property but it was her husbands fault. Long story short - someone poisoned my kitty - and I have a good idea who did it.

    This was a neighbor problem but really if kitty had been happy inside that issue would have been solved before it got started - a mute point.

  15. highnote says:

    I think everyone had some very good statements about cats and I must agree with them. I did have a neighbor that left his car windows down and a cat did his job in his car and there is nothing worse then having cat prints all over your car when it is not your cats. We had a male cat we kept indoors and he got a urine infection. The vet said that a male will hold his urine as long as he can when kept indoors and that this causes them urinating tract problems and kidney problems too. I think it is necessary for a male to go out. We have females now and we do not let them out at all. I am always afraid that one of the neighbors dogs will hurt them since they just let them out to roam even though we have a leash law in town.

  16. furmom says:

    Our neighbor doesn’t like cats, doesn’t keep one. Our cat has been over there a lot, so she’s probably not keen about that. The thing is, they had TONS of mice, in their house, around their house, they were even coming over to our place. So people would rather have mouse droppings everywhere. When some people in our town started a campaign about stopping all cats everywhere, I wonder if they’ve thought about what they are going to do with the mouse/rat problem if their campaign got off the ground.

  17. Diane says:

    Cats should be inside. If you live in an urban area, you have to worry about cars; if you live in a rural area, you have to worry about raccoons and coyotes. I wouldn’t let my cat outside unsupervised any more than I’d let a toddler wander around the street.

  18. Lynn says:

    Ask yourself:

    Would you want your cat to be picked up as bait for dog fighting? Killed by a coyote? Or stolen for lab experimentation? To be exposed to oncoming traffic that kills?

    My friend has the right idea. She trained her kitty to wear a harness and walk on a leash. Yes, she walks kitty each day and kitty has learned it’s better than never going outside at all.

  19. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    highnote said:
    “We had a male cat we kept indoors and he got a urine infection. The vet said that a male will hold his urine as long as he can when kept indoors and that this causes them urinating tract problems and kidney problems too.”

    Your vet is wrong. Urinary tract infections can also be caused by lack of hydration and other ways too, not just “holding it”. I have a male cat who has lived indoors his whole life and has not had a problem with UTI. I make sure he eats good canned food and he takes a supplement to keep his urine acidic. (Uri-Ease treats made by Nutri-Vet, try them.) I keep the litter boxes clean and make sure there is fresh water available to them at all times. If you have a cat that won’t use a litterbox and insists on going outside to potty, have you tried offering him a litterbox inside that is filled with dirt? A lot of the cats like this are not objecting to the box or being indoors, but the litter you use.

  20. stargirl says:

    hmmm, will attleboro now rename its city council the “kitty council”?

  21. Phoebe says:

    I love cats. We don’t currently have one, but neighbors up and down the street have always had them. Most of the families have indoor/outdoor cats (even though coyotes are very active in the area). Unfortunately, the little furballs - cute as they are - are very fastidious creatures and do not soil their own properties, but instead ‘bless’ those of us without cats. Our yards are their outdoor litterboxes. We’ve all seen one cat, in particular, who will lounge on his family’s driveway, suddenly get an ‘urge’ and run across the street to a neighbor’s flower garden where he digs and, eventually, buries his fragrant ‘present.’ Then he strolls back to his driveway for more sun time. Charming.

    So, the cats’ families enjoy their pristine yards, while the rest of us ‘enjoy’ the stench their cats left behind. It’s ludicrous that if we want to walk barefoot in the grass that we have to do so in a cat owner’s yard because that’s the only place we know we won’t step in anything. Yes, that’s an owner problem and, yes, they should be held responsible. They need to go to each home and scoop, especially in flower gardens. If we scoop up after our dogs on walks (and we always do, not just because the law requires it), they should be prepared to do the same with their cats.

  22. catmom5 says:

    furmom, I’d be worried that someone who really doesn’t like cats might get fed up and do something awful like poison them. I have a woman in my neighborhood who swears a feral cat attacked and killed her little Yorkie. (Since we have raccoons and possom and hawks I rather doubt it was a feral cat!) This woman is on a vendetta to capture ALL roaming cats. She has a yard full of traps that she baits with tuna and salmon and then turns the caught animals over to animal control. I don’t even want to think about how many of them ever make it up for adoption. I don’t understand why anyone who has cats would allow them to be outside unsupervised around this neighborhood.
    It just doesn’t seem worth the risks to me . . .

  23. Moonbeams says:

    Thank you catmom5 for your coment which only reaffirms that if I do ever get a kitty again, my cat will be strictly indoors. More and more I see hawks around our homes and hear coyotes and very seldom see a cat in the neighborhood.

  24. Madeleine says:

    This type of ordinance will be enacted more and more if owners don’t take responsibility for either keeping their cats/dogs INDOORS WITHOUT SUPERVISION or OUTDOORS WITH SUPERVISION. I am a cat parent and would no sooner let my cat outdoors without my being there than I would a child. Both are bound to get into trouble.

  25. Justice Forall says:

    Check out this site on you tube… the authors name is “justice4madison” they show how bad neighbors and law enforcement can be.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This last comment should not be linked to the web site that it was. It is not associated with this sites owners. It should be removed. Thank You

  27. Bev says:

    While I am an animal lover, I have to say I have tried for over a year to have my neighbor keep their cat on their property. Why? Because I have two dogs and live across a busy street from my neighbor. One day one of two things may happen. I let me dogs out to do thier busniess (on MY property) they see the cat it runs back across the street, BAM their cat or my dog(s) get killed by a passing car. Now who will feel worst, me my dog si dead, my neighbor their cat is dead, or the person driving the car that hit the animal, assuming they too wher not hurt in trying to avoid the whole thing, that could have been provented if the damn cat was kept indoor or on their property. Lets look at it this was, I am by law responsible for my dog(s) staying on my property. Why shouldn’t cat ownership have the same responsibility? Imagine YOU being the car driver, your car is wrecked by trying to avoid someones animals, or worst your injured? Maybe even dead if you hit a tree or telephone pole. Please cat lovers keep your cats at YOUR home not mine.

  28. Cookie2 says:

    How timely this years-old post is. (For moral support in the face of ignorant behavior.)
    A neighbor recently adopted three cute kittens - and now sic three cats on the neighbourhood. Cats live an average of fifteen years… and we have to put up with the feces, urine, digging, spraying, bird and gecko eating, plant damage? My own indoor cat died recently at 15 years of age-related illness; after due consideration, I decided not to start a new 15 year commitment. Now how’s that for irony…
    How is it that people who profess to love cats will send them out into the foreign yonder to brave possibly fatal adventures unknown?

  29. Casey says:

    You can train cats to use an invisible electric fence the same as dogs.
    My neighbor, in Charlemont, Ma., brought home a vicious attack tom cat. He immediately began stalking and mauling our tiny Toy Fox Terrier and gentle stay-at-home cat on our deck, driveway, while we were at our picnic table, etc. Whenever I called an injury to her attention, I just got verbal abuse. They seemed to think that because there are no town leash laws for a cat, he could maul my pets on my property with impunity.
    I finally took her to small claims court to cover the vet cost for puncture wounds to my cat inflkicted right in front of my eyes. The ruling was for the plaintiff. She appealed and appearead in court with her mother. I had no idea I had to pose questions to these people I dreaded for their manipulative tactics,and was confused by their backing up each others dissimulations. Despite the fact they gave conflicting evidence, the judge reversed the ruling. My last resort for justice is to write a well crafted motion to the court with good reason. Meanwhile, that cat has disappeared to the predators of the night, most likely a Fisher or a Fox, as we live in the rural Berkshires of Western Massachusetts abutting the State Forest, and they leave their cats out at night. They have since lost several other cats for the same reason.

  30. Jon says:

    God, people, just put up fences. Most cats are too stupid, and they’ll fail to jump over the fence, and they’ll sometimes even hurt themselves a bit, perhaps preventing future attempts to jump over the fence. The higher the fence, the better - the fence around my back yard is 8 feet tall. Did I mention that you should have barbed wire along the top?

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