The cats are back in front of Saanich council.
At the Monday night meeting, council will receive a report from District of Saanich staff that encourages council to take no further action relating to cat control bylaws as the District doesn’t have the resources to enforce them.
The report from Brent Reems, director off building, bylaw, licensing and legal services, reviewed the cat control bylaws of the nine municipalities in the CRD that don’t allow cats to roam free. Victoria, for example, has a bylaw that requires cats to be in kennels or on leashes when in public and bans felines from trespassing on private property. Infractions can result in a $150 fine for the owner.
It was also noted that, like Saanich, Colwood, Sidney and Sooke do not have bylaws restricting cats and no municipalities currently require that cats be licensed.
In the report, Reems emphasized the financial and enforcement implications of cat control bylaws. He pointed out that Saanich isn’t in a position to handle a higher animal control demands. The Saanich Police Department’s Pound Section currently manages animal control and has only two full-time staff positions and some weekend staff. The pound is already inundated with other calls and managing ellusive cats is too time consuming, Reems noted in the report.
Expenses associated with new trapping equipment would be minor, he wrote, but the District would likely need to pay a higher fee for its increased use of the CRD animal shelter.
The issue of cat control was brought to Saanich council in May when Coun. Karen Harper submitted a report following discussion with the resident group, Citizens for Responsible Cat Ownership. Saanich staff were asked to review the cat control bylaws of other municipalities in the Capital Regional District (CRD) and report on issues including bylaw enforcement. Harper noted that the report would not prompt change in the near future, but that eventually cat control bylaws could be implemented.