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Cat-Leashing Proposal Passes City Council Committee

May 16, 1986

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Cat owners may soon be required to leash their pets, despite howls of protest from some who said the plan is impractical and contrary to nature.

The City Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee approved an ordinance Thursday that would require cats to be leashed while outdoors.

The full Council will consider the ordinance, along with one that would require dangerous dogs to be confined, next Friday.

The leashing ordinance, proposed by the city Health Department, also would require that cats be licensed, which would help the city pay the cost of impounding between 1,500 and 2,000 cats a year.

″You can’t carry a cat on a leash when it’s mousing. I beg you not to require that cats be on leashes in a yard,″ Jan May said during a public hearing before the 4-1 committee vote.

″It is the nature of a cat to be unrestrained,″ said Anne Manty. ″That is part of the charm of a cat. Cats, by their nature, cannot wear a collar and a leash.″

But those who spoke in favor of the ordinance said cats were a public nuisance.

″There’s at least one cat in my neighborhood who is paper-trained,″ said Norman Heitz. ″My paper. Every morning.″

Other opponents of the ordinance said cats with license tags and collars would become snagged on fences. People also said the $100 fine for allowing a cat to roam free was too stiff a penalty.

But committee chairwoman Sandra Hilary, who owns a cat, said, ″I have a hard time understanding why people who say they love their animals let them end up in dangerous predicaments.″

Ms. Hilary said five similar cat-leashing proposals have failed.

The committee also approved a requirement that dogs considered dangerous be kept in enclosed kennels.

Under the proposal, a dog could be declared dangerous by anyone who had seen it display aggressive behavior.

An earlier draft of the ordinance referred specifically to pit bull terriers, but the current proposal mentions no breed.

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