Man Ticketed After Cat Won’t Jog

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One reason dogs are (arguably) better than cats: you can take them out jogging.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, a 19-year-old man was ticketed in nearby Lafayette, Colorado, last week "on suspicion of tethering his cat to a rock after the pet refused to go jogging with him." An officer was quoted as saying that a passerby called police after allegedly seeing the cat's leash tied to a rock in a local park. "Apparently," said Sgt. Fred Palmer, "the individual was trying to jog with the animal on a leash and the animal was either unwilling or unable to keep up." Well, it was a cat so I think we can guess which it was, but the end result was the same: the "individual" tied the cat's leash to a rock so he could finish his run.

The cat wasn't harmed by the alleged tethering. (The report cites "police radio traffic" in support of a claim that the cat "was being attacked by a flock of birds while it was tied to the rock," but while that is highly amusing it's also highly unlikely. Birds aren't that stupid.) The owner was ticketed for "domestic animal cruel treatment," but this is explained by the fact that the town's animal-cruelty ordinance states that "tethering" is considered "cruel" by definition.

Specifically, the ordinance makes it illegal to "tether" any animal in Lafayette except as follows:

Animals may, only upon an owner's property, be restrained by a tether; however any such tether must be at least ten (10) feet in unobstructed length and attached to a pulley or trolley mounted cable which is at least ten (10) feet in unobstructed length and mounted no more than seven (7) feet above ground level. The tethering system must be entirely contained within the owner's property, any tether shall weigh no more than one-eighth (⅛) of the animal's weight, have swivels on both ends and be attached to a properly fitted collar or harness.


That is, even on your own property, no matter how briefly and regardless of any harm to the animal, you cannot tie your pet's leash to anything except one of these ridiculous contraptions. (The ordinance defines "tethering" as securing the animal to a "fixed base," so they do at least permit you to walk your dog – or cat – on a leash, which is nice of them.) It is, of course, already illegal to abuse or neglect an animal, so it's not clear to me what the anti-tethering rule adds. Maybe somebody's cousin owns a pet-tethering-contraption company?

The Daily Camera located a Facebook account that may or may not be the defendant's — the name is identical, the owner lives in the Boulder area and has adopted a cat (named "Stella!," apparently with the exclamation point). In one of the pictures posted to the account, Stella! is wearing a leash or harness, although whether she is actually "tethered" to something is not clear. She certainly doesn't appear to have been mistreated.

She doesn't seem too happy about things, but then she is a cat.