Yesterday, while I was perusing My Edmonds News, a local online news source, I came across an article about a recent city council meeting. One of the things that was voted on was a measure to include cats in the city's roaming and leash laws. The vote won 6 to 1. I smiled when I read this for several reasons. I am a firm believer that if you own an animal it is your responsibility to keep it in your control at all times. Animals that are allowed to roam free can be a danger not only to people, but to themselves. And lastly, you need to control them out of respect for your neighbours.
I scrolled down to the bottom of the screen to see the comments left by several members of the community. Now I also have to say that I appreciate that My Edmonds News forces people to post their names along with their comments. That being said, the citizens of Edmonds are clearly divided on this issue, and to be quite honest it surprises me.
As I posted a few weeks back, I have put a lot of time, effort and money into the maintenance and upkeep of our front yard. And because of those things I take pride in it. Several times while mowing the lawn or working in the flower beds, I've found dog or cat poop. We all know my problems with a dog in the neighbourhood who always uses my side lawn as it's bathroom, but recently I've noticed that a cat is hanging out under one of our trees and using it as it's litter box.
In the comment section of that article many people talked about how unfair it is to cats to be "incarcerated" all day. By incarcerated they mean forced to stay in the house. They also talk about controlling rat populations as well as the feces is merely fertilizer for our yards and flowers. I believe that when you buy or adopt a pet you are in essence taking on the responsibility to care for and protect your animals. Allowing your animal to roam freely throughout the neighbourhood is not protecting them. And as much as you might love your dog or cat, I don't necessarily feel the same way, it IS in fact YOUR animal.
We compost our yard waste and food scraps, and one of the things that you are told NOT to include is dog or cat feces. Your pet's waste might include parasites or organisms could use the soil as a shelter until they find a new host. I'm not keen on these parasites or organisms being in the soil that our garden grows in. Furthermore, dog and cat urine can kill plants because of the high levels of urea that can damage or kill the root systems of your plants. As far as rats go, well we did have 1 rat in our compost enclosure so I set out an electric trap that was placed in a way that only a rat or mouse would be able to access it. So neither of those reasons that were given hold much weight.
Having chickens that are allowed to free range to eat bugs and work up soil is a great thing! However, many times I've noticed a cat walking along the top of the fence eyeing my girls. I will be the first to say that if I ever were to catch a cat, or any other animal for that matter, trying to get into or cause harm to my chickens, that would be the end of that animal. As a property owner, it is my right to protect myself, my home and my pets from any type of intruder. So if you as a cat or dog owner who feels it is okay to let your animals roam free, you are relinquishing the right to have a say as to what happens to your animal if they are on private property destroying things in any manner.
Respecting your neighbours goes further than keeping your pets on your own property. I am continuously baffled by the lack of common courtesy that people show to those that live around them. When we moved into this neighbourhood, we tried our hardest to minimize the effects on our neighbours. To this day we try to respect our neighbours privacy as well as day to day lives. But it's amazing how not everyone feels the same way.
Recently we had a child's birthday party that went on until almost 12:30 in the morning. We also had neighbours playing a movie in their front yard starting at 10 PM one night. These things in and of themselves are not the problem. The problem lies with the neighbours lack of common courtesy and respect for those that live near them. A simple knock on the door, or even a note in my mailbox informing me of the event that was going to take place would have made all the difference. Now that note or visit by NO means requires an invitation to said event, it merely is a heads up that there might be noise going late into the evening.
As citizens of this community it is our job to obey the laws that are put in place to protect us and our property. While it may seem like an infringement on your rights as a pet owner, allowing your pet to roam freely through the neighbourhood is an infringement on my right as a property owner. Respecting your neighbours will only strengthen and promote the sense of community in your town.
For those of you who let your animals run free...I know that leash laws seem to be only inhibiting your animal's life and happiness. My response to that...stop your sniveling and obey the laws that are put into place. I'm not a fan of picking up my own dogs' poop let alone your dog or cat's poop. Your animals can live a long and fulfilling life without roaming the neighbourhood wreaking havoc wherever they see fit. Respect will get you a lot further than dismissal of your neighbours and their property.
Here is a link to the article - My Edmonds News
Until next time...Keep Cooking!