MASSENA - Charles B. Romigh asked the village board Tuesday night for their support in his quest to see legislation requiring cat owners to purchase licenses for their pets.
While neither Mayor James F. Hidy or any of the board members commented on it during the meeting, following the meeting Mr. Hidy said he would speak with Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray to see where the town board stands on the issue.
Im going to get with Joe Gray to see where the town stands on the issue, and well see where it goes from there, he said.
Mr. Romigh though, thinks he has the town boards support.
I just want to approach the board to see if you would consider going along with the town and requiring a license for felines, he said.
Mr. Romigh said he finds it amazing that cat owners arent held up to the same standards as dog owners, noting that if a dog does what dogs do on someones property that dogs owner would be held responsible.
And despite a law on the books in Massena that says cat owners should be too, he said thats not the case.
A copy of the law, which appears in Chapter 92 of the villages code book was provided to The Daily Courier-Observer by Mr. Romigh at the meeting.
The law states:
No person, being the owner or harborer of any cat, shall allow such cat to commit any nuisance within the village of Massena or cause damage to the person or property of others. The following are declared to be public nuisances and are set forth herein for exploratory purposes only and are not to be considered as excluding other types of nuisances, and the establishment of the fact that the owner or harborer of a cat has allowed or permitted such cat to commit any of the acts herein prohibited shall be presumptive evidence against the owner or harborer of such cat that he or she has failed to properly confine or control such cat: defecating, urinating, digging or otherwise damaging public or private property of the owner or harborer.
Mr. Hidy said that he was aware of the law, but said enforcing it would be no easy task.
To enforce it would be a nightmare, he said. Anybody could deny ownership of a porblem cat. Its not as easy to keep track of cats as it is with dogs.
Mr. Romigh said that if cat owners were required to purchase licenses for their pets, not only would it increase revenues for the municipality, but it would also encourage pet owners to be more responsible with their animals.
He also cited recent reports from the count health department that rabies is on the rise in St. Lawrence County.
Most of our area is pretty rural and there are skunks and raccoons. If a cat is out at night and tangles with one, there is a good chance it is rabid, he said, adding that if that cat was unlicensed and unvaccinated and then bit a child, the child would likely contract rabies.
Mr. Hidy declined to offer his opinion on whether cats should be licensed, but said he understands licensing cats should be a bit problematic.
I can see where it would be a major headache for the town clerk because of the cat population, he said. It would certainly be a difficult task.