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Nanaimo’s ‘cat control’ animal responsibility bylaw now official

Outdoor cats can’t be at large on other people’s properties, but enforcement will be complaint-based
Cats in Nanaimo that want to go outdoors will have to be sterilized and bear identification under the animal responsibility bylaw adopted by city council Tuesday, Sept. 21. (News Bulletin file photo)

Pet cats will have to be sterilized and have identification when they go outdoors from now on in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo city council officially adopted its new animal responsibility bylaw at a council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21, after receiving provincial approval.

Some of the bylaw’s new provisions include changing the ‘vicious dog’ designation to ‘aggressive dog,’ modernizing sections of the bylaw to reflect current best practices for standards of care, implementing mandatory identification for cats, requiring mandatory spaying or neutering for outdoor cats, and prohibiting cats from being “at large” in a public place or on someone else’s property without their permission.

READ ALSO: Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

After reviewing public feedback from last fall, amendments were made that included adding a policy to waive seizure and impound fees until Jan. 1, 2023, for any cat impounded that is sterilized and has identification.

Cat owners can allow their pets to enjoy the outdoors and there is no requirement for cats to be on a leash, noted a press release from the city. However, bylaw offiers will investigate complaints and work with the cat owners toward compliance.

“Pets are beloved family members and bring an abundance of joy to our lives. This new bylaw focuses on protecting our pets through responsible and ethical care along with guidelines to ensure they are good neighbours,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog in a press release.

For more information and to view the bylaw, associated policy and a fast facts brochure, visit

READ ALSO: Nanaimo council votes to recommend bylaw that would keep cats from roaming
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