Winnipeg cat owners could soon have to register pets under proposed bylaw
The City of Winnipeg has proposed a bylaw it says it aimed at reducing pet overpopulation.
The plan would require pet owners with spayed or neutered cats to purchase an annual $15 licence, while those with animals not spayed or neutered would have to pay a $50 annual fee, said the city.
Funds raised from the licence fees would be used to fund the Winnipeg Humane Society’s spay and neuter programs for stray cats, said city officials.
"Cat licensing will protect more cats with a license tag and provide a revenue stream for enhanced spay/neuter programs," said Animal Services COO Leland Gordon.
"Both dogs and cats affect neighbourhood livability and place a strain on area animal shelters. A license increases owner responsibility while adding value and protection to our feline companions," said Gordon.
CTV News has learned that eight people are slated to lose their jobs at the Winnipeg Humane Society due to restructuring there.
Under the proposed bylaw, the city said licensing will also help the 311 service reunite lost cats with their owners, citing the success of a similar program for dogs.
“In 2011, 311 reunited 601 dogs wearing licenses without those dogs having to set foot in Animal Services,” said the city.
Denis Lemoine, a cat owner, said she thinks the proposed bylaw would be difficult to enforce.
"If you do find a loose cat, how are you going to know who to fine if they haven't spayed or neutered and tattooed it?" she said.
Coun. Scott Fielding said money left over after administering the program would be put back towards cats.
"One hundred per cent of those dollars, net - the operation of it, goes right back into spay and neutering programs through the Humane Society and other organizations that are there," said Fielding.
The manager of Winnipeg Rescue Shelter is pleased the bylaw could help cats but fears organizations would see an influx of cats turned in or on the street if it comes into place.
She's also concerned the proposed changes don't address the real problem.
"Right now, it is mandatory to spay or neuter cats under the age of six months. That has been dropped from the proposed bylaw so you have to wonder what the incentive is," said Carla Martinelli from the Winnipeg Rescue Shelter.