Letters: Cats should be licensed

Cats should be controlled much like dogs are in Sooke

I am writing this letter to express my disappointment that council failed to pass the recently proposed cat bylaw. The bylaw would have required that cats wear ID tags on collars, be tattooed or microchipped.

One of our very own council members opposed this bylaw because, “Tattooing and microchipping costs money.” Yes, being a responsible pet owner does cost money. The cost of a tattoo at time of spay/neuter is minimal and microchips aren’t really that expensive either. This same council member opposed ID tags and collars because she witnessed a dog suffer when its collar got stuck in a fence. Cat collars are designed to break away when they get entangled so this too is a moot point.

The fact remains that by having appropriate, visible ID on your pet will help it get back home should it get picked up. This cannot be disputed. It seems odd to me that any responsible pet owner would think it’s appropriate to have their wander with no way of identifying where it belonged and how to get it back home.

Another council member brought up that they don’t receive “that many” cat complaints about cats. Well, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t fed up with cats roaming at large, pooping in their gardens, killing birds, running out into traffic, fighting and spraying. It only means that nobody is calling the municipality to complain.

Cats are sent to the CRD when they can’t find an owner. Within four days the CRD is within its legal right to spay/neuter and adopt that same cat out to a new family if you do not go there and pick it up. Most people don’t even look for a missing cat until it has been gone for longer than that.

Wouldn’t it be much easier to have your cat’s ID known so that all of this can be avoided? With a tattoo or chip or tag your cat will likely never leave Sooke. These things are easily traced with a phone call. Wouldn’t you want to know where your cat was if it went missing?

Another point I would like to make is that I hear a lot of people using the term “cash grab” when the topic of cat licensing comes up. Nothing can be further from the truth. The cost of providing shelter, veterinary care and bylaw enforcement of stray animals is very expensive. The fee paid to license a cat would only help offset those costs, nobody would be profiting anything from it. Just answer this…the next time that the CRD has to drive out here, pick up a cat, feed it, house it, provide vet care to it…who is paying for that? You are, in the 76K that we pay every year for animal bylaw enforcement. These costs will only continue to rise in the future and unless something is done to offset costs, you, the taxpayer will pay more out of pocket.

Dog owners in this community are expected to keep their dogs under effective control and have a dog license. Cats require no control and no license… does that make sense?

Millicent Cowan

Sooke