The cat bylaw is a step closer to being put down.
Last night, regional council passed the first readings of a motion to scrap cats from the city’s new animal bylaw and instead include them under nuisance legislation.
The move means cat owners would be on the hook for a $200 fine if their pets damage or poop on property and the owners don’t immediately remove it. Cats won’t have to be licensed nor will there be a multi-million dollar shelter – two things proposed in the cat bylaw.
The motion also included forgoing a public hearing since the community had already been consulted last fall.
Councillors voted 19-2.
Preston-Lawrencetown-Chezzetcook Coun. David Hendsbee voted against it, saying people deserve to be heard on the issue.
“Well, Mr. Mayor, the cat won’t have my tongue on this one,” he said. “I feel that we’re circumventing the process.”
Council’s newest member, Bedford Coun. Tim Outhit, said that after knocking on 2,000 doors and taking hundreds of emails and phone calls that he’s confident people have heard enough about cats.
Sackville Coun. Bob Harvey expressed concern that the issue has become more of political nuisance than an animal nuisance. “We’re losing the intent we started with which is to bring some order to the situation and add cats to the bylaw,” Harvey said, adding that the nuisance law won’t work when cats don’t have to be licensed.
“It will help dealing with granny down the street with Fluffy the cat, but it won’t help with the lady next store with 30 cats who feeds them and doesn’t take any ownership beyond that and is driving her neighbours crazy.”