"I think we could have come up with a common sense way to deal with it, but unfortunately, councillors are more concerned about dogs and dog control problems than cats and cat control problems."-- Councillor Joy Thorkelson expressing frustration with council after they put aside any concerns over feral cats in the city.
While council has directed city staff to propose a bylaw for pet owners that will breed responsibility for their pets behaviour, the nasty hairball of a question of what to do about feral cats continues to languish unaddressed, as councillors for the most part take a pass on taking charge of the situation.
It was a decision that has left councillor Joy Thorkelson disappointed that her fellow councillors seemed more interested in the perils of pet ownership than the need to address a growing concern in the community with the rapidly expanding population of owner less cats.
Councillor Cote apparently has heard enough of all of it, suggesting that the city has many more important things to deal with than the wandering homeless cats and their troublesome ways.
The Daily News featured the latest twist of the feral cat tales in Friday's paper.
City fails to get its teeth into feral cat problem
BY CARLA WINTERSGILL
The Daily News
Friday, July 11, 2008
Councillors passed a motion at Tuesday's council meeting that directs city hall staff to prepare a 'responsible pet owner' bylaw.
The animal control bylaw will include provisions for both cats and dogs.
"What it does is put in the hands of our bylaw control officers some tools so that when other people's pets are causing a nuisance, they have something to work with to help the people who are being bothered," said Mayor Herb Pond.
But noticeably absent from the motion was anything that deals with the problem of feral cats.
Councilor Joy Thorkelson, who was a main advocate for implementing a program to deal with the city's feral cat population, was disappointed with the outcome.
"The feral cat issue is dropped. There is no support from anybody on council," said Thorkelson.
"The question that remains is what happens when someone traps a feral cat or has a feral cat problem?
"The fact is that no one on city council wants to deal with that. And when a person traps a feral cat, the city is taking no responsibility for that either."
Thorkelson believes most of the council is more concerned with pet ownership issues stemming from dogs.
"I think that feral cats are as much of a nuisance and as much of a disease-spreader as rats," she said.
"I think we could have come up with a common sense way to deal with it, but unfortunately, councillors are more concerned about dogs and dog control problems than cats and cat control problems.
"I don't believe that it's an either/or problem, but some councillors believe that."
At the meeting this week, there was a motion made to direct staff to spend no more time on cat control issues. That motion was defeated.
Councillor Kenneth Cote made a motion to direct staff to spend no more time on cat control issues.
The motion was seconded but then defeated when it was put to a vote.
Cote later voted against a subsequent motion that called for city hall staff to prepare a bylaw that included feral cats.
"We have other more important things on our plate as a city to deal with than feral cats," he said.