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Jacob Glower, Fargo, Published July 20 2013

Letter: Let Fargo’s cats catch rodents

It has come to my attention that there is a Fargo ordinance requiring cats to be on a leash at all times. Under Section 12-0105 of the City of Fargo Ordinances: “12-0105. Running at large prohibited. – A. Every person having the custody or control of any dog or cat shall prevent said animal from leaving the property limits of its owner or keeper without being effectively restrained by a chain or leash not exceeding six feet in length, or, within a vehicle being driven or parked on the street. In the event any such dog or cat is found at large, the owner, custodian or keeper of such animal shall be guilty of a violation of this section.”

I believe this poses a health risk to the people of the city.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/direct.html), rodents such as mice and voles carry a half-dozen diseases, including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis, plague, rat-bite fever, salmonellosis and tularemia.

Before I bought a cat, I personally caught 57 mice in my one-third-acre yard on one day alone (58 if you count the one the neighbor’s basset hound stepped on).

Considering the diseases carried by rodents, this is a bit concerning. In order to control the rodent population, I bought a cat. Since having a cat, there is still a major rodent problem, but it is much more under control: She typically kills three to four mice every night I let her out, providing an important service for the city, free of charge. Unfortunately, this leash law essentially bans this practice.

Cats provide a clean, safe, nonpesticide, environmentally friendly means for controlling rodents. On the grounds of public health and safety, shouldn’t cats that are outside for the purpose of rodent control be exempt from the leash law?