UPDATED: City council took $40,000 out of this line item (along with money from the planned mountain bike course) and put it into fixing more roads. Good for them!
However, they left $5,000 in the budget with the hope of leveraging that with private donations to create the planned dog park. Can't they just back off from the idea entirely and let some entrepreneur create one if it's actually needed and can be profitable?
When you consider the financial situation of the city - and the serious needs in terms of our roads, other infrastructures and such essentials as police vehicles, spending ANY money on such "quality of life" projects (the general description for something that is not necessary or would otherwise be described as 'pork') is ridiculous. But that's another story.
My point of contention is the continual catering to dogs and dog owners while ignoring the issues of cats.
In Ohio, counties have dog wardens to handle dogs and certain other types of creatures - but not cats. Because the law is silent on the issue of cats, counties and their dog wardens have no authority when it comes to cats (a quirk of the state law). But that doesn't mean that municipalities can't institute their own laws regarding such felines. And Toledo did.
In 1992, Toledo created a cat law in TMC Chapter 505 which states:
505.16. Registration and identification required.
(a) No person, within the City shall own a cat over six months of age without procuring registration for such cat as provided in this chapter and keeping secured to such cat a cat tag bearing the registration number.
(b) No person, who is the owner of any cat, shall permit or allow such cat to wear any cat tag issued for another cat or a cat tag which has expired.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in this section, application for such registration shall be made annually to the Commissioner and the following information, including presentation of a valid, current rabies certificate showing that the cat has been vaccinated for rabies in accordance with Section 1705.09, shall be furnished:
(1 ) Name, address and work and home phone numbers of the owner or keeper of such cat and the approximate date of ownership or residency, whichever is earlier;
(2) Such description of the cat as may be required for the purpose of identification; and
(3) If applicable, a veterinarian's statement that the cat has been spayed or neutered;
(4) If applicable, information the Commissioner deems necessary to support the nonexpiration provisions of subsection (h) hereof.
(d) The Commissioner shall furnish to the owner, upon payment of the registration fees as hereinafter required, a receipt showing thereon the information described in subsection (c) hereof and a cat tag bearing the registration number which shall be secured to the cat.
(e) No person shall remove or cause to be removed, the unexpired cat tag from any registered cat.
(f) Subject to subsection (h) hereof, fees shall be as follows:
Annual Registration Fee
Each cat that is not spayed or neutered $ 45.00
A cattery permit 100.00
Each cat that is spayed or neutered 10.00
Each replacement for lost unexpired cat tags 1.00 each
(g) The cat registration and cat tag shall remain valid through December 31 of the calendar year in which it is issued, except as provided for in subsection (h) hereof. A five dollar ($5.00) fee for late registrations shall be assessed.
(h) A registration issued for a cat owned by an elderly person or a disabled person shall remain valid throughout the lifetime of the cat or until such elderly or disabled person ceases to own the cat, whichever period ends first. The elderly or disabled person owning such cat shall be responsible to have and keep such cat vaccinated in accordance with Section 1705.09 and shall inform the Commissioner of any change in the information provided to the Commissioner in accordance with subsection (c) hereof.
(i) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.
(Ord. 558-92. Passed 8-4-92)
(a) Any cat not bearing a valid cat tag, or observed injuring or destroying the real or personal property of someone other than the owner or keeper of the cat, or known to create excessive noise or odor, or observed creating a danger to public health in the opinion of the Commissioner of the Division of Health, is declared to be a public nuisance and shall be impounded by the Animal Control Officer as provided in this chapter, in addition to any penalties which may be imposed upon the appropriate person under Section 505.09(c).
(b) The parent or guardian of any minor claiming ownership of or owning or keeping any cat shall be deemed to be the owner of such cat and shall be charged for all penalties and fees imposed by this chapter.
(c) Whoever violates any provision of this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.
(Ord. 558-92. Passed 8-4-92.).
The problem is, this law is not enforced.
Having neighbors who believe that cats should be able to roam free (which really isn't safe for them) clearly contributes to my frustration as their cats dig in my garden, use our horseshoe pits as litter boxes, climb our trees and then meow incessantly because they can't figure how to get down, etc...
Phone calls to police with such complaints result in hilarious laughter - okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much. Police don't come out to take reports when items are stolen because they instruct you to go to a district office and fill out such reports yourself. To expect them to come out because someone else's cat is in your yard - well, you can imagine...
So, Toledo created a law requiring a license for cats, requiring a fee for such licenses and making cats which do damage a public nuisance subject to impoundment. And then they don't enforce the law.
But they can find $45,000 to build a dog park in the south end which is where, coincidentally, the mayor lives.
Perhaps that $45,000 would be better spent enforcing the existing laws before they create something new to be paid for and maintained.