this is such a touchy issue.
I know when we lived out in the country, we let our dog roam freely. He was ‘fixed’ and the nearest neighbour was a 15 minute walk away. When we moved to the city after we owned him for 8 years, I made sure I found another family to adopt him because I felt it would be cruel to chain him up. That being said, while he did roam, 90 % of the time he was on our property. We never had reports of him being bad, and if we had we’d have responded.
I know we once had a cyclist who liked to bike at 3 a.m. (I dunno why) complain that our dog would chase him, so we kept him indoors at night from that point on.
Now we have a small (about the size of some people’s cat) dog, and he is kept on leash at all times that he is out doors unless we are at the dog park.
But our cat (that was with us on the farm), is fixed but is allowed to roam in the summer time. I have not had someone complain about that, but we keep him in all winter if we can. He likes it outside.
Anyhow, we had 4 different neighbours show up asking if “Nick” was okay because they had not seen him for a long time.
To me, dogs and cats were originally wild creatures and it is their nature to roam and be free. I find it highly cruel to keep them locked up. Especially if they don’t have a chance to exercise otherwise. We are especially good at walking our Bischon Poodle, but he’s tiny so 4 walks a day around the block make him happy.
I would never keep my kids inside 24 hours a day, they need the sunshine.
That beings said I don’t condone poor animal care. I’m in favour ‘fixing’ the animals just to control population. My pets are also micro-chipped, mainly because the cat wouldn’t wear a collar [but did, ironically, once we got the little dog].
I agree that the issue is with the spraying and the pet being outdoors on cold nights. That is something you have legal rights to pursue.
But if it was my cat Nick, I’d tell you that often, despite our best efforts, he gets out and refuses to come in and after 12 p.m. I go to bed even though he’s still out and I’ve called for him every 15 mins before that! They are independent creatures!