Cats and dogs deserve compassion, but where do we draw the line on our caretaking of these creatures?
Expect to hear yapping and snarling surrounding that issue as laws in Pennsylvania – including one proposed in Luzerne County – compel people to consider what actions are appropriate for dogs exposed to the elements and for feral cats.
An ordinance under review in Luzerne County, and supported by the area’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, stipulates that unattended dogs not be left outside for more than 30 minutes during harsh weather, as defined by certain temperature limits. If the thermometer reading goes above 92 degrees, for example, dog owners would be required to move the animal to a temperature-controlled lodging such as a home’s living area, basement, garage or an air-conditioned kennel. Violators who refuse to correct the situation in a day could be fined up to $500.
Some readers, several of whom posted comments to a recent Times Leader article explaining the ordinance, objected to what they believe would be government overreach. “This is a very unnecessary and destructive law,” wrote one commenter. “It should be considered invalid. Dogs can endure much higher and lower temperatures in simple doghouses.”
On the opposing side of the online debate, one commenter stated: “It’s about time an ordinance is passed with some teeth in it! Shame on the few idiots here in the comment section who would refuse to bring their dog inside to cool down during a heat wave or to stay warm during frigid temps.”
Meanwhile, in the Perry County borough of Landisburg, council members this week adopted a law that likely will result in the euthanization of many feral cats. An estimated 200 felines wander the small community, wreaking havoc on property and causing a nuisance, residents told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
The new law calls for cat owners whose pets run free to have the cat spayed or neutered, outfitted with an ID collar and immunized. Cats later trapped and found to be lacking those safeguards will be transported to a veterinary clinic and killed. The law also bans the feeding of feral cats.
“We’re not out to be cat killers,” the borough secretary said. “We’re out of options. We don’t know what else to do.”
In your opinion, what is the responsible way to care for the outdoor dogs and stray cats in our community? And what should be done when people fail to meet their basic obligations to these animals?
Let’s talk about it, without baring teeth.