The City of Côte Saint-Luc adopted its first ever cat licensing by-law at a meeting of council on Monday, October 22 at City Hall. It will come into effect on November 1, 2012.
As the city's official liaison to the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC), I am pleased to say that work on this by-law began last spring and represents an important chapter in the area of animal welfare in the community. In the two years since the creation of the CSLCC, a team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to rescue and sterilize abandoned and feral cats, find permanent or foster families for homeless kittens and educate the community at large.
This by-law is a message to all owners of outdoor cats which are not sterilized. It is no longer acceptable to ignore the need to spay or neuter your animal. This is an irresponsible act which our new by-law will attempt to address. We truly need everyone's cooperation.
Owners of outdoor cats will have them registered at City Hall and obtain a cat identification tag, provide relevant information required to process the registration of the cat and produce, on a one-time basis, a certificate from their veterinarian stipulating that the cat has been spayed or neutered. This pertains to any cat six months of age or older.
Annual registration fees will be $10 for an outdoor cat that is spayed or neutered and which bears a microchip or a tattoo; $15 for an outdoor cat that is spayed or neutered, but does not bear a microchip or tattoo; and $20 for an outdoor cat that is not spayed or neutered as a result of a medical exemption. The latter alludes to a feline 10 calendar years or older or one that has a medical exemption from the veterinarian attesting to the fact that it cannot be spayed or neutered.
The cat identification tags will be valid from July 1 of the year it is issued and will expire on June 30 of the following year. However, for those people who purchase licenses now (they will actually be available as of Novembe 19), they will get a bonus and it will be valid until July 1, 2014.
The by-law also emphasizes that the owner of a cat must provide food, shelter and adequate care, including veterinary services. They shall not abandon the cat under any circumstances and face fines for doing so.
We must make it clear that every owner of an outdoor cat has the responsibility of ensuring that the issued identification tag is affixed whenever it is running at large and not on the owner's or permitted property.
The responsible authority, meaning any city employee or volunteer from the Côte Saint-Luc Cats shall be responsible to patrol the city and attempt to control the cat population by identifying areas where large numbers of them are seen and running at large; ensure that outdoor cats have a valid ID tag in conformity with the by-law; and ensure that abandoned cats are transported to the Animal Care Facility for medical evaluation and sterilization if deemed necessary by the veterinarian. In addition, the responsible authority may seize and retain any cat without an ID tag and have it spayed or neutered, and then released once deemed safe to do so.
"Fines will be issued to anyone contravening a provision of this by-law, or tolerating or permitting such a contravention," said Councillor Sam Goldbloom(pictured with Librarian Janine West, also a cat lover), like myself is a proud cat owner and a member of the committee.
These fines will range from a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $1,200.
I would like to thank in particular the city's general counsel Andrea Charon, my fellow Cat Committee members, Shelley Schecter, our partner from Educhat (pictured above with myself and committee member Lydia Gazelle) and the mayor and council for their support. This is a very important step forward. Once again I believe our community is leading by example. Our goal continues to be controlling the homeless cat population. These are really "community" cats because we all have a responsibility. Cats make the most fantastic pets. They belong in people's homes. We need more individuals to help us foster cats and adopt.
A special video on the Trap, Neuter and Release Program of the committee will be unveiled soon, as will planned programming for 2013.
For more information call 514-485-6800 ext. CATS or log on to www.cotesaintluc.org/cats.