Should NYS require mandatory cat licensing?
Thursday June 14, 2012 | By:Jennifer Lysiak, Reporter
LANCASTER- Should cat owners be held to similar standards as dog owners? Well, in my opinion yes they should. A topic of discussion at last weekís Lancaster Town Board meeting peaked my interested when I realized how unequal it is for dog owners versus cat owners.
During the meeting, a Biscayne Drive resident, Richard Kurek, spoke on the behalf of his mother-in-law, who resides on Iroquois Avenue, and currently has a neighbor who apparently houses about 11 cats. Kurek stated his mother-in-law is scared of cats and she is confined to her house because the cats are all over her yard, using her flower beds as a litter boxes.
I mean this is just sad that a woman canít go outside her house because of cats. I canít imagine anybody would think that is right.
Town of Lancaster Code Enforcement Officer Jeffrey Simme stated that nothing could be done because there is nothing in the town code addressing cats, leaving him helpless on what actions to take next. But Kurek was not accepting this as an answer and I agree that he shouldnít.
Simme said the owner of the cats feeds them twice a day in her garage and then she closes the door, creating a problem for Kurek and other neighbors.
Just think about thisÖ as many dog owners do, we have to license them, follow rules, and some of us have even spent money on training and fencing, but yet cats have the right to destroy other peopleís property. What is wrong with this picture?
It was also learned from Kurek that the SPCA will not take the cats because they are feral cats and Simme even provided him with an adoption place in Alden that apparently would take them, but according to Kurek they said to shoot them.
So, sitting there at the meeting, I was confused as to what options Kurek had because it didnít seem like he had any. The only laws I could find in New York State for cats were based on animal cruelty and abandonment, but there was nothing on trespassing or licensing, which is enforced for a dog. I think cats should count and the state should require cities, towns, and villages to establish some legislation and have them be licensed.
After reading several articles about this issue, there was a pattern forming, which was that this is a problem not only, affecting Lancaster, but the nation.
Kurek actually did suggest cat licensing, but if the town decided to enforce it they would be violating the law.
In fact, the City of Hornell, N.Y. is actually considering passing a law that cat licensing be required, but according to the article the city would then need to do a cat census to determine how many are in Hornell. It also mentioned that enforcement of a law dealing with cats is difficult since they arenít regulated animals under the stateís Agriculture and Markets laws. But I at least give them props for starting somewhere.
It is time for New York State to get with the program and enforce the same restrictions on cats as dogs have. Why do we have rules for trespassing, barking, and how many dogs we can have, but nothing for cats?
Why is it okay for my neighbor to have 15 cats and I can only have three dogs? Cats can be nasty and the odor of their urine is 10 times worse than that of a dog.
In my personal experience, I have faced the same problem as Kurek, I lived next door to a lady who was housing five cats and would just let them roam around the neighborhood. Let me tell you, I didnít enjoy cleaning up the mess they left on my property.
Maybe it is just a matter of common courtesy and respecting your neighbors? Could that solve these cat problems? You never know, but until then letís enforce some cat laws!