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March 25, 2014

Danvers resident wants leash law for all pets

DANVERS — Ingrid Barry says if dogs have to be on leashes, other pets should be under similar control when out and about, too.

Barry, a Precinct 6 Town Meeting member, has gone twice to the Board of Health to suggest that the town’s “dog leash law” be amended to include all such animals.

She presented her idea before the Board of Selectmen last week, saying if a citizen’s petition comes before Town Meeting in May, she would like the board’s support. Selectmen may take up Barry’s concerns at their April 1 meeting.

“All animals seems a very broad description,” said selectmen Chairman Gardner Trask at the meeting last week.

Barry said the wording came up in discussions with the Board of Health.

“Equality for all animals,” she told the board.

Public Health Director Peter Mirandi said the Board of Health recommended that species of animals not be singled out in any change to the town’s leash laws.

“The Board of Health will not take part in any ‘species-ist’ activities,” he said in an interview.

However, Barry is not trying to put leashes on chickens, she said in an interview. Instead, she is trying to draw attention to the public health concern of letting a pet, such as a cat or a ferret, roam free and come in contact with an animal carrying rabies. Safety is also one of her concerns.

“There are health issues concerning free-roaming cats and things,” Barry said.

At last week’s meeting, Barry said outdoor cats live shorter lives than those kept indoors. While she does not have a dog or a cat right now, Barry has an active bird feeder and sees how the birds attract cats. She said cats could be controlled with enclosures or electric fences, the same devices dog owners often use.

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