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Poulsbo claws into new cat codes

POULSBO — The Poulsbo City Council was in a feline frenzy Wednesday night as it faced possible changes to Little Norway’s animal licensing regulations, and ensuing discussion was nothing less than the cat’s pajamas.

Those pawing for relaxed cat control were purring, while others hoping for heightened confinement were left, well, up a tree.

The council approved a code requiring all cats to be licensed annually in a way similar to dogs, meaning it is now unlawful for any person to own or keep a cat above the age of four months within the city limits without a current license. All cats must now be licensed within 30 days of being acquired, and noncompliance could result in a fine of up to $250.

But a provision stating all cats must wear their license, as well as a regulation forbidding cats to wander properties other than their owners’ without permission, were both found to be at the end of their nine lives.

And while fur didn’t fly, discussion during the meeting was unusual, as cat arrests and feline profiling were raised.

“I think if Leif Ericson would’ve heard all this he wouldn’t have come to America,” joked councilman Ed Stern.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the regulation meant to keep cats from wandering off their owners’ property is seemingly impossible to execute, though the issue of stray felines could try neighbor relations.

Councilman Mike Regis spoke in favor of the rule, explaining that should the Poulsbo Police Department need something to refer to, it would be available to them.

Councilman Jim Henry said he worried if a person cannot resort to calling the police to deal with stray cats, the animals may become victim to unkind and perhaps violent ways of dealing with the problem.

“The old trash bin and a plastic bag,” he said.

Councilwomen Connie Lord and Kim Crowder disagreed.

“I am totally opposed to trying to leash a cat or confine a cat,” Lord said. “It’s an unenforceable law.”

Crowder said the law could increase unnecessary complaints.

“Personally, I’d rather have the police doing something besides chasing cats,” she said.

PPD Sgt. Howard Leeming said he could only recall one reported incident of a cat causing a nuisance to a neighbor.

Lord said forcing cats to wear collars could prove not only difficult, but hazardous to the animal, as the apparatuses could easily get caught on things.

The council decided to let sleeping cats lie in the case of both provisions.

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