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Weymouth considers a leash law for cats

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Lorraine Nicotera, a Commercial Street resident in Weymouth, Mass., is proposing an amendment to the current leash law – to include cats, according to the Patriot Ledger. Nicotera claims “cats are toxic to wildlife” and are “a cancer in our state.”

Weymouth Town Council is now weighing the proposition and has referred it to the ordinance committee. That committee will consider the proposal on June 23, 2014.

The proposed revision includes cats being leashed or under their owners control, as well as owners cleaning up after their cats. Violations to these rules include a fine and possible confiscation. Fines are $50 to $100 and nuisance cats can be impounded by animal control.

Nicotera is a registered wildlife rehabilitator, helping injured rabbits. She claims that cats kill wildlife while outside and use neighbor's yards as litter boxes. The Patriot Ledger quoted her as saying “I open my window and I get the lovely smell of cat (urine), and I'm tired of it.”

Nicotera goes on to say that adding cats into the current leash law for dogs would help cut down on the feral cat population.

Mike Parker, Weymouth's Animal Control Officer, disagrees. Parker feels the law would be hard to enforce since most cat owners do not put collars on their cats. It would be difficult to tell if the cat were someone's pet or a feral. There is currently no place for cats. In fact, Weymouth Animal Control only deals with dogs.

Parker was quoted as saying “I’ve never had an issue of a cat that we know has a known owner that’s really causing a nuisance. How much of a nuisance can a cat cause on your property?”

The head of the ordinance committee, Kenneth DiFazio, agrees, stating he has never heard a complaint about cats either. Both Nicotera and Parker will speak before it is voted on.

Editor's note: While this Examiner agrees that cats should be indoor pets only, as a Weymouth resident off and on for 30 years, I can attest to there never being a problem with cats in the town. Some owners do indeed let their cats out to roam the neighborhoods and we do have some ferals, but you would actually be hard-pressed to find a cat. You are more likely to spot a squirrel, deer, possum or raccoon. In fact, though my neighbor's cats do sometimes relieve themselves in my yard, I find deer feces more frequently. I have spoken with Mike Parker on a few occasions and he is an avid animal lover. The reason the town does not handle cats is because there are no resources to do so.

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