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BY OFFICER DAN SCHOEN • COTTAGE GROVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OFFICER

What happens when your dog or cat is found running at large?

Cottage Grove has an ordinance that requires all domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, to be on a leash. Even if you have the best dog in town, you still must have it on a leash if it is not in a fenced-in yard on private property.

In most cases, dogs and cats found at large are “captured” and turned over to police by well-meaning people concerned for the animal’s welfare. The Cottage Grove Police Department does not have facilities or staff for long-term animal care. When we are able, we post information about animals at our station before they go to the Woodbury Animal Humane Society.

Not all pets turned over to the police department are taken to or are eligible to be taken to the Animal Humane Society. To give you the best chance of being reunited with your pet, Cottage Grove Ordinance requires a Cottage Grove animal license on your pet’s collar. The pet must have their collar on when outside the house. We also recommend you microchip your pet. When possible, our Community Service Officers check animals for microchips before taking them to the Animal Humane Society.

The Animal Humane Society considers all dogs domesticated, but not all cats. Unfortunately, over the years we have experienced a rise in feral or wild cats, which the Animal Humane Society will not accept. To be considered feral, a cat does not have to act wild around humans, it just means that the cat was found in the wild without identification. We commonly get called to pick up these cats because a well-meaning citizen “live traps” a cat that has no identification. In this instance, our officers will release it near the area where it was found. This is the best chance for the owner to be reunited with the cat.

Animal waste: Owners are required to pick up after their pets on any public property or private property that is not their own. Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation conveniently stocks animal waste bags at several parks and trail locations.

Keep your pet on a leash: Not everyone is an animal lover. Some people are afraid of dogs because of bad experiences. If you want to let your dog run off leash, we encourage you to take them to the WAG Farms Dog Park located at 9475 Glendenning Rd.

Make sure you have identification on your pet, pick up their waste, keep them on a leash and be a good neighbor. While we prefer not to issue citations, we will do so with egregious or repeated violations.

Readers can send their questions to Officer Dan Schoen at [email protected] for answer in a future issue.

September 21, 2022