It was a normal day for Murray, Utah resident, Kate Anderson. Because she loved her sleepy cat, Milo, she decided to indulge his desire to get out of the house and into the sun. Since it was a beautiful day, Anderson had no right to complain, so long as the cat came home in one piece without a mouse in its mouth.
But when Anderson let the cat out of the house, it had a simple agenda. The tabby cat wanted to sleep all day in the sunny garden, where it was warm and cozy. Who can blame him? He knew what he wanted. But that’s when things started to spiral out of control.
Although Anderson had her cat, Milo, neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped, that wasn’t enough to please her neighbors. Neither was the fact that he was a staple in the neighborhood and was very well behaved. As it turned out, a neighbor – or some other passerby – snapped a photo of Milo lounging about in the garden and submitted it to animal control. It was only a few minutes later when animal control came knocking at Anderson’s door with a highly disturbing message.
“He’s got a cat door, so he just comes and goes and is a cat,” Anderson said.
Although Milo was just lounging around in the sun, the neighbor found it insulting that the cat was outdoors. That’s why that person notified animal control and tried to get Anderson in some hot water.
Because Anderson had no idea that someone had reported Milo as a stray, she started to panic. Seeing animal control at her doorstep made her think of the worst. But as it turned out, Milo was just fine. However, Anderson was slammed with a citation that carried the same weight as two misdemeanor charges. She was going to be treading the legal system for some time all because some “do-gooder” decided to report Milo to animal control.
Little did Anderson know but she had been breaking the law. It was illegal to let Milo outside on that bright and sunny day. As it turned out, Milo was being treated “like a fugitive or bank robber” because Utah had an old, outdated law in Murray city that was enacted back in 1963.
“I just got a ticket for my cat being outside, in my yard,” Anderson said to Fox 13. “This is a cat who is neutered and micro-chipped and vaccinated, and is not a menace to society.”
What’s the obscure Utah ordinance that is infringing on Anderson’s rights as a pet owner? It reads in part:
“It is unlawful for the owner or person having charge, care, custody, or control of any animal to allow such animal at any time to run at large. The owner or person charged with responsibility of an animal found running loose shall be strictly liable for a violation of this section and for any injury to a person or another animal, or property damage caused by such animal running at large, regardless of the precautions taken to prevent the escape of the animal and regardless of whether the owner or person charged with responsibility knows that the animal is running at large.”
Do you agree with this strict Utah law?
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