City Mulling Over What to Do About Cats
Prince George, B.C.- Will the day come when cat owners in Prince George will have to have their cats licensed?
It is one of the possibilities being examined by Bylaw Services in the City, as it looks for a way to deal with complaints about the felines.
In a recent report to Council, Bylaw Services Manager Fred Crittenden said that while cats are included in the definition of Animal in the current animal control bylaw “there are no provisions to encourage responsible ownership”.
In the past 5 years, Animal control Officers have attended to 657 complaints related to cats and under the current bylaw, if a cat is impounded, the owner can simply pay a nominal impoundment fee to have their cat returned.
In the report, Crittenden writes “Creating a bylaw to encourage spaying or neutering and having permanent forms of identification on cats would allow for a more effective way of dealing with nuisance cats and the overpopulation” This has created an increasing drain on resources not only of the City, but for organizations like the BC SPCA who have accessed grants of $110,000.00 in the last three years to spay and neuter free roaming cats in Prince George.
Crittenden says licensing cats is something that is on the table “We are just putting together a public consultation process.” He says that consultation will include in person interviews and some surveys “One of the questions we will be asking is, is there a need for that (licensing) in the community? Is it something community members will want and feel there is a need for? We’ll have to balance that with the costs and benefits as well.”
Crittenden says there are other communities which have cat licensing policies “Absolutely, there are a number of communities in B.C. in Alberta for sure that license cats. So we’ll be looking at what their experience has been and the costs associated with it before we make that recommendation.”
The process will take some time, but Crittenden says he would like to have something before Council to look at before the end of 2017 “But there is a process and consultation before we get there.”