A North Carolina town is cracking down on free-roaming cats, warning pet owners to keep their cats outside on a leash or face fines.
Cary, North Carolina — a town of 176,000 people in suburban Raleigh — has had an ordinance on the books for more than half a century that requires all domestic pets, including cats, to be removed from their owner’s property whenever they want.
Similar laws exist in other Wake County towns and cities across the state.
But Carey’s leash law caused a stir on social media earlier this week after the town’s animal services reminded residents. On his Facebook page that “cats must be leashed when not on their owner’s property.”
The local agency listed some of the risks of allowing cats to run wild, including the fact that the popular pets kill a staggering number of birds every year, are the number one predator of small mammals and feral. Animals and humans alike can transmit diseases.
“The safest thing for an outdoor cat to do is to teach it to be a house cat,” Animal Services maintains. “Indoor cats generally live longer, won’t be hit by cars and aren’t at risk of injury from other animals.”
Tens of thousands of homes in Kerry have at least one cat. Each year, Animal Services receives about 1,000 calls about stray or feral cats or kittens, Supervisor Chuck Hegst said. told the News and Observer.
“For cats, they don’t have to be on a leash on your property but once they step onto a neighbor’s property down the street, that becomes a problem,” Hegst said.
Owners caught violating the leash rule can face fines ranging from $20 to $250, depending on the number of offenses.
On a fifth offense, a cat caught roaming off-leash can be impounded and taken to a shelter, from which the owner must reclaim it for a fee.
Hegst said that while her agency is not looking for stray cats, she urges pet owners to understand the risks to cats and to the people around them.
“Coyotes are killing cats; there are hawks, owls,” Hegst said. “An outdoor cat has half the lifespan of an indoor cat.”
Despite their relatively small size, cats are highly skilled hunters that prey on birds, lizards, and other small animals.
The American Bird Conservancy previously stated that cats kill 2.4 billion birds each year in the United States alone.
Cat owners have the option of building outdoor enclosures, called “catios,” to keep their curious cats confined to their property while enjoying nature, or common dog enclosures. Install invisible fences.
However, not everyone in Kerry is on board with Billy’s crackdown.
In 2019, a resident – who pointed out that he did not own a cat – started an online petition, calling on the Cary Town Council to repeal the leash ordinance because “it is in the nature of cats to be on a leash.” It’s against.”
The Change.org petition has been signed by 267 like-minded cat lovers.