LETTER: Cat owners dodge same responsibility as dog owners

Saanich has double standard between dogs and cats.

I read with interest the Saanich News article titled “Stuff hits the fan over discarded poop bags.” Understandably the writer was upset that someone left numerous used bags in the bushes. I also read that Saanich’s animal bylaw says dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs face a fine of no less than $100. That also makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that, unlike dog ownership, cat owners can let their pets roam and regularly defecate in my gardens and by my front door (producing a stench), and scent mark (urinate) on my plants like my grapes. Some may say cat feces are more acceptable because they bury them. Many don’t bury them, and when they are buried they are a disgusting discovery while working the soil. Cat feces potentially contain serious pathogens that when passed onto humans can cause Toxoplasmosis which can be deadly, or cause serious birth defects for a fetus if the mother becomes infected.

Why are dog feces not cleaned up by owners a problem, requiring regulation, while roaming cats defecating and urinating in gardens (even where food is grown) is OK? I know of many other Saanich residents who ask the same question. Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Sidney and Central Saanich have progressive bylaws that control roaming cats. Saanich does not. It’s a troubling double standard that needs immediate correction.

As an aside, a Canadian federal government report estimated the annual toll of birds killed by domestic cats at nearly 200 million. I guess Saanich is OK with that as well.

J. St. Gelais

Saanich

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