City ordinance says cats must be on a leash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City ordinance says cats must be on a leash

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It is now illegal for pet owners to let their cats outside in the city of Albany unless they're on a leash. That's not what city leaders had in mind when they made minor changes to the city's animal ordinance.

Gary Cameron says his 13-year-old cat Wiley is his best pal. He lets him out everyday and he comes right back inside. When he heard he may have to put a leash on his cat he wasn't happy.

"I would never want to put my cat on a leash," Cameron said. "That's just not right."

The city altered the animal ordinance after Animal Control officers explained the growing feral cat population in Albany.

 "I agreed with him if they have problems with cats they should be in the ordinance," said Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis.

In Section 10 of the city code, the definition of animal now includes cats. Before January 26 it did not. Section 10.6 now says when animals-cats included- are off the owner's property they must be secured by a leash. 

"It has nothing to do with people domesticating cats in the same fashion they do dogs," said City Manager Alfred Lott.

Even if Lott doesn't intend for cats to be on leashes, it's written that way. Davis didn't see this coming.

"I never though of it like that and people may voice their opinion to me about the issue, " Davis said.

"Broadening the term gives us the ability to include cats and other animals," Lott added.  

Previously, the city wasn't authorized to pick up stray cats. Since, 50% of complaints to Animal Control are about feral cats, city leaders wanted to change the law.

"When cats are wild they become the responsibility of the city," Lott noted.

Cameron still wants to see a more detailed explanation. He doesn't want his cat to be mistaken for a feral cat just because he's outside. @

The city also tweaked the tethering part of the ordinance. Chains can't be too heavy and must be secured to prevent tangling or twisting. Tethering also can't be the primary way to confine a pet. Owners must also have a fence or pen. 

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