A city committee has referred a proposed animal bylaw back to administration.

The plan includes a licensing fee for all cats in the city, and a ban on some exotic animals and backyard chickens within city limits.

The proposed bylaw didn’t go over well with groups who look after stray animals.

Annual licensing fees would be $15 for a spayed and neutered animal and $50 if it’s not.

The money raised from the fee will go towards a spay and neuter program.

Several cat advocates, including no-kill shelters and the Winnipeg Humane Society, showed up at city hall on Jan. 14 and spoke against the proposed bylaw.

Carla Martinelli-Irvine of Winnipeg Pet Rescue said the bylaw is a cash grab.

“If you can get $50 for an unfixed animal versus $15 -- that's an extra $35 of revenue for the city," said Martinelli-Irvine.

The Winnipeg Humane Society said a taxpayer-funded program is what’s needed instead.

"This city needs to wrap its head around a greater spay and neuter program that is subsidized for cats,” said Bill McDonald, CEO of the WHS.

Advocates said that would reduce the cat population.

"Within the next three years, we can have the population down by 50 per cent,” said D’Arcy Johnston from D'Arcy's Animal Rescue Centre.

After a lengthy debate, the city’s Protection and Community Services Committee city sent the entire bylaw back to the animal services department for further consultation.

The issue will be discussed again in May.