A message from Mayor and Council

09 Feb 2021

We have received a number of messages from members of the community regarding the Animal Responsibility Bylaw. As a follow up, we would like to thank everyone for their feedback and provide an update on the Bylaw and explain its effect.

The main focus of this Bylaw is to emphasize the importance of animal safety and responsible pet ownership. An engagement opportunity for members of the public on the Animal Responsibility Bylaw was provided for three weeks (November 19 – December 11, 2020). The results of this public feedback and options for changes to the Bylaw (based on the themes that emerged), were presented to the Governance and Priorities Committee on January 11, 2021. The Committee selected its preferred options and those directives were incorporated within the Animal Responsibility Bylaw and the Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw.

Council considered the Bylaw and provided the first three readings on Monday, February 1, 2021. The “Animal Responsibility – Promise to Return” Council policy was also approved by Council at this same meeting. The Bylaw will now go to the Ministry for approval, prior to coming back to Council for adoption and it could take some time before approval is given.

Some information about the “Animal Responsibility – Promise to Return” Council policy:

  • This Bylaw was created to protect cats from any harm or danger and to return them to their owners should the cat be impounded and to allow Bylaw Enforcement Officers to respond to concerns or complaints regarding a particular cat.
  • Upon impoundment, the poundkeeper will check the cat for identification (which includes checking for ear tattoos and scanning for a microchip) as soon as is practicable. Once the owner has been notified (either by phone or in person) that their cat has been impounded, the owner may claim the cat at the pound at their earliest opportunity.
  • Impound fees will be waived until January 1, 2023 for any cat that is impounded in violation of Section 41 or 47 of the “Animal Responsibility Bylaw 2021 No. 7316” subject to the cat being sterilized and having identification (as defined in the Animal Responsibility Bylaw).
  • In cases where no owner is found, the cat will be spayed or neutered, affixed with permanent identification, and put up for adoption to an indoor-only home.

Other sections of the Bylaw that may be of interest are noted below. For more information, you can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) located on the side of this page.

  • There is no requirement for a cat to be a on a leash. The Animal Responsibility Bylaw sets the structure that if there is a nuisance animal, stray or abandoned cat, or feral population that needs addressing, this Bylaw gives Bylaw Enforcement Officers the ability to respond to complaints and protect the health and well-being of the Animals.
  • Owners of outdoor cats are still able to allow their cats to enjoy the outdoors; however, owners should be mindful that if there is a complaint submitted to the City due to their cat(s) trespassing on any private property (without the owner’s consent), the City’s Bylaw Enforcement will investigate the matter and work with the cat owners on getting compliance and raising awareness of the Animal Responsibility Bylaw.
    • the intent of the bylaw emphasizes the importance of responsible pet ownership;
    • the reference to “Restricted Dogs” has been removed since it is no longer best practices (and not practicable) to target;
    • the term “Vicious Dog” has been changed to “Aggressive Dog”;
    • sections have been modernized to reflect current best practices on tethering and add additional standards of care (e.g. prohibitions against forcing dogs to run, while leashed to bicycles);
    • every owner of a cat is required to provide the cat with identification, such as a collar, traceable tattoo or microchip, to enable the cat to be returned to the owner by Animal Control Services staff or another person;
    • every cat that is permitted to go outside is required to be spayed or neutered;
    • An increase to the number of animals allowed under the Bylaw to accommodate owners of flock birds, small rodents, etc. Full details on animal limits can be found in Section 9 of the Bylaw.

Read the Animal Responsibility Bylaw

Council will monitor this closely over the next few years to ensure that goals of this Bylaw are met and that it reflects community values around animal responsibility.

Again, thank you for expressing your views to Council.

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