Cat bylaw is just a money grab
Re: New Oakville bylaw reins in roaming cats, Oakville Beaver, Jan 13.
Here we go again, another ill-thought-out law. Public input? Pshaw!
What exactly is to be gained from this new law and what problem is it actually going to solve? It will not address the underlying problem of cat overpopulation in any way whatsoever.
I would argue the only cats that are going to be easily caught in Oakville are those that have already been spayed and neutered (perhaps when adopted from the humane society), micro-chipped and wearing a collar.
It will be the well-cared-for house cat, who is just sitting there minding his own business, that will be targeted and owners unfairly fined.
Studies have shown that it is the recent explosion of feral cat colonies that are mostly to blame for population increase and that is because over the last 30 years (due to animal rights activists pressure) humane societies in North America no longer euthanized cats (and dogs) the way they used to, therefore population growth is no longer kept in check.
This law will definitely result in tenuous relations between neighbours. Cat owners will resent dog owners as they watch Fidos gambol about freely in backyards and run off-leash through our trail systems without fear of penalty. (Who’s patrolling and fining dog owners for that rampant violation?).
The longevity of a cat’s life is irrelevant in this argument — it’s the quality of life that’s important.
Many cat owners believe that cats need the fresh air and the mental stimulation of being outdoors from time to time. Indoor cats, according to the advice of veterinarians, must be regarded as zoo animals and require 15-20 two-minute human interactions a day.
My guess is many indoor cats suffer from benign neglect in that regard. No doubt a cat would choose one year of outdoor life versus ten years of indoor boredom.
I would also argue many more dogs are exposed to poisons (cats are notoriously finicky), hit by cars (love to chase those tires), and succumb to the elements (unless they are a northern breed with a good fur coat).
While the decline of songbirds is evident, the vast majority of studies point to habitat destruction and pesticide use and feral cat colonies as the main culprits.
One study out of New Zealand found that cats do a service in that they suppress the numbers of more dangerous predators, such as rats, thus allowing denser populations of birds that would exist without them. Yet, time and time again the information the public is fed is that cat predation is a major problem.
It should be noted that only 30 per cent of dog owners and 10 per cent of cat owners pay the $25 and $15 licence fee in Toronto and enforcing the rules costs more per pet than the actual licence itself. Therefore, that city is seriously considering eliminating that law in favour of encouraging the tagging and micro-chipping of pets.
This new bylaw in the Town of Oakville is quite simply another money-grab targeted at responsible pet owners/taxpayers who are already over burdened.
Sheelagh Rowland-Brown, Oakville
January 19, 2011
2010 Oakville Cat Bylaw:
2001 Oakville Cat Bylaw: