Are you tired of your neighbor’s cat using your garden as a litter box?

Are you tired of your neighbor’s cat using your garden as a litter box?

What do you do if you live next door to or across the alley from someone who has several large dogs who bark constantly? The barking and snarling makes backyard barbecues and a peaceful evening on the deck an impossible dream.

What if you have a sandbox in the back yard for your children to play in, but the neighborhood cats use it as a little box. That could threaten your child’s health.

The city of Devils Lake has been struggling with these issues as they wrestle with putting together an ordinance that holds pet owners responsible for their pets.

Often, when there is a problem, it is not so much the fault of the animal or animals as it is the owner’s problem.

If everyone were a conscientious pet owner who paid attention to their neighbors’ needs when it comes to their pets’ behavior there would be little or no need for legislation.

However, this is not a perfect world, neighbors have come into conflict over pet behavior and therefore the city has responded to their concerns and studied the issue for a number of years.
Most recently a committee has been seriously looking at the issue since last year.

Their intent is not to come into your house and remove the well-behaved kitty cats or puppy dogs according to Mayor Dick Johnson, but to have a way that pet owners can be held responsible if they disturb the neighborhood.
Devils Lake Fire Chief Jim Moe heads the committee that has been studying this problem and he thinks the new ordinance will help the situations he’s encountered.

Presently the city requires dogs to be on a leash, in a kennel or somehow restrained when out of doors. The new ordinance would require cats to also be restrained.

According to Deb at the Devils Lake Animal Clinic cats can be taught to walk on a leash, just like dogs, although for safety’s sake, she says, it’s best to put cats in a harness or a break-away collar should they get hung up on a tree or fence.

There are many options as far as outdoor enclosures for felines, like wire cages or kennels. Plus there are entire television shows dedicated to elaborate outdoor rooms dedicated to the pampered putty tat - called “catios” - like a patio only one made precisely for the feline in the family.

The new ordinance the committee has worked so hard and long on will have its first reading at the Devils Lake City Commission meeting set for Monday, April 15.

Then residents will have two weeks to comment on the ordinance and make their opinions heard before the final reading and the commission votes on it at the May 6 meeting set for 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.

Comments prior to the May 6 meeting can be directed to Terry Johnston, the City Manager.