Leash Law? Understanding Our City Ordinance

Recently, a Kentucky city passed a leash law. Alley Cat Advocates received a number of calls and emails from concerned citizens wondering if this city’s law would Leash law?have a negative impact on our unowned community cats. It does not.

But, we’re glad you asked.  Those questions prompted us to share a brief overview of our wonderful, groundbreaking Metro Louisville city ordinance!

In early 2012, Alley Cat Advocates, Metro Animal Services and Metro Council representatives began working to develop an ordinance that would serve the citizens and the cats of our community. In late April, 2012 the revised ordinance was brought before the Metro City Council and was unanimously passed.

The new ordinance established Trap-Neuter-Return as an accepted management strategy at Metro Animal Services, and then went even further to protect community cats.

Cats in our community are now divided into two categories: “Owned cats” and “Unowned Community cats”.

Owned Cats:

  • Must be licensed
  • Must remain on their owner’s property (the leash law)


Unowned Community Cats:

  • Don’t need to be licensed
  • Don’t need to remain on an owner’s property, as they have no owner
  • No longer are subjected to the “stray hold” – the mandatory period that a cat must be held in the shelter

This ordinance has had a tremendous impact on saving lives and keeping our community cats safe! Alley Cat Advocates’ work with our partners Metro Animal Services and The Kentucky Humane Society has received national recognition as a model that is saving lives and reducing pet overpopulation.

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