Equal rights for Cats and Dogs
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In New York State, under the law, cats and dogs are both considered property. Yet, under the law, the animals are treated differently. If cats are allowed to roam free, dogs should be allowed to do the same. Cats do not need to be registered, so dogs shouldn't, either. Cats don't have to be vaccinated, but dogs do. The laws need to be changed so that all pets are treated equally.
From www.vetinfo.com: "Cat lifespan varies from breed to breed; however, the average livespan of a free-roaming cat is less than 3 years, whereas the lifespan of an indoor cat averages 15 to 18 years. Indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts because they do not face the dangers outdoor cas face: traffic, attacks from other animals, feral diseases and stress."
From www.catchannel.com: "Remember, there is more on the other side of the door than budding trees and clean air. Keeping your cat indoors, or allowing only supervised jaunts outside, will protect it from injury, illness and possible death. The most common injuries to outdoor cats...are the result of hit-by-car trauma. Each jurisdiction has different hazards, and even if your cat is lucky enough to escape the neighborhood predators and vehicles, ... outdoor cats are exposed to disease, parasites, accidental poisoning, frostbite, heatstroke and cat fights. Despite the sometimes pitiful, and often outraged, demands of our furry friends to be let outside, there are many ways to keep your mighty explorere both happy and safe."
Of course, I don't believe dogs should be allowed to roam free and defecate wherever they need, but cats shouldn't, either. I don't want my vegetable and flower beds to be used as litter boxes, do you? Pregnant women and children are in danger from parasites that could be carried in a cat's digestive system, parasites that don't harm the cat, so there is no way to know that the cat is carrying them. There is a reason that horticulturalists do NOT use feces from carnivores as fertilizer.
From www.npr.org (Article: Harmful parasites in cat poop are widespread) "Some cats carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Infected cats shed embryonic T. gondii, called oocysts, in their feces. These oocysts are easily tramsnitted to humans, and researchers have explored their possible link to various mental health problems, including schizophrenia. More recently, studies of school aged children show a correlation between testing positive for T. gondii and having difficulty in school. Oocysts are hard to kill. Strictly indoor cats really shouldn't be a problem. The chance of them becoming infected is very low."
From www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fatal-attraction, "Infected cats shed millions of their oocysts in their feces. Taken up by all kinds of animals, including dogs, rodents and humans, they infect muscle and the brain to escape attacks by the host’s immune system. Hidden away, they remain dormant as cysts, surrounding themselves with a tough cell wall. Yet this quiet stage of infection, called toxoplasmosis, is deceptive. Violating all rules of good hospitality, these invaders make the host’s brain do things counterproductive to its own survival. Science has known for a long time that schizophrenic patients are two to three times more likely to carry antibodies to T. gondii than are controls who are not schizophrenic."
From the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) position on free-roaming cats:
"State and local agencies should adopt and enforce ordinances that:
1. Prohibit the sale or adoption of intact cats by humane organizations and animal control agencies.
2.Require licensing, rabies vaccination, and permanent animal identification through microchipping of all cats.
3. Encourage that owned cats be kept indoors, in an outdoor enclosure, or on a leash. Cats in rural areas must be confined to the property."
There are more sources of information that I have consulted in preparing this petition. All state similar facts and recommendations.
Registering cats will raise money for the towns and will be helpful in finding missing pets. Vaccinating your pets is the only way to keep them truly safe from disease, especially if they are allowed outside. Even indoor cats escape sometimes. Better to be safe than sorry.
If a cat is in no way contained, the owners are consciously making the decision to NOT keep their pet safe. Cats who roam free should not be considered under dangerous dog law. A dog does not know the difference between someone's pet cat, a feral cat, or any other animal. When a cat owner chooses to let a cat go wherever it pleases, they are putting their pet in the path of danger from so many different directions. My heart breaks when I see a cat on the side of the road, having been hit by a car. I see fox and coyote in our area and worry about any pets becoming victims, especially when it could be easily prevented by a responsible pet owner. Hold cat owners accountable for the safety of their cats, just as dog owners are held accountable.
Most experts agree that cats are safer and happier when kept indoors. Their life expectancy is 2-3 times greater when they are kept indoors. Don't we all want our pets with us for as long as they can be? This link is an excellent article regarding why cats should have restrictions and rules, just as dogs do: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/indoors-or-outdoors/
Please revise these rules and make them fair for ALL pet owners across the board.
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