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Putting a dog on a leash for an afternoon walk through the park may not seem that big of a deal, but Goshen residents will soon have to restrain their cats from running free.
The City of Goshen decided in June that Chapter 90 of the City Ordinances regarding animals needed to be updated to address the issue of cats.
Commissioner Terry Crotteau brought the idea to the council in May after receiving numerous complaints from city residents about cats using neighbors’ gardens as litter boxes, attacking local birds at feeding stations and owners allowing cats to run in neighbor’s yards.
The corrected ordinance, which once only included dogs, now says, “No dog or cat within the city shall be permitted off of the property of the dog’s or cat’s owner unless the dog or cat is being restrained by the owner through the use of a leash.”
If an owner is cited, they will have to pay an unspecified fine, but Mayor Bob Thacker said the ordinance might be hard to enforce.
“A lot of cats run free and we don’t know how to control them,” said Thacker. “We just hope this makes homeowners more responsible.”
The ordinance also states, “No dog or cat within the city shall be permitted to be kept any closer to its owner’s front property line than the front corner of the main residential structure on the lot.”
According to Crotteau, this would solve the problem of cats and dogs running free in the city, but it may mean that residents will have to restrain their animals.
“The restriction should not apply if the dog or cat’s owner or member of the household who is capable of restraining the dog is also in the front yard and in the immediate presence of the dog or cat during the time they are in the yard,” according to the ordinance.
Crotteau is hopeful the correction of the ordinance will please all Goshen citizens.
“We hope than any city ordinance will provide a better environment for all our residents, not just pet owners,” said Crotteau.
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