Imagine for a moment there were no dog bylaws in Sooke, as this was the reality not so long ago across Canada.
You open your front door or go anywhere in Sooke and you see dogs roaming at will, stopping traffic, defecating where they were, dog territory fights occurring, mating behaviour, resting in your yard, chasing and or killing whatever they felt inclined to.
Now be in 2015, and this is the reality for cats where no specific bylaws exist and any costs for damages or deterrents fall to the nonowner. For 10 months I have been the solitary public voice for the opposition of continuing this irresponsible pet ownership until Millicent Cowan’s letter last week. I am forever grateful as many conversations about outdoor cats with citizens result in stories of damage, and upset. The most extreme is a resident selling a home because of 18 roaming cats in the neighborhood. Plans to use a yard again to garden and enjoy necessitate a move out of a Sooke core neighbourhood.
People are hesitant to come forward as they do not want to alienate their neighbours. Rather, those of us affected, complain to each other. Unfortunately, this results in no change at the municipal level. This issue must be revisited by council.
A few months ago when defining perimeters and definitions of wildlife, Councillor Kasper mentioned repeatedly his concern for continuing with the bird feeder in his yard. I stopped counting at three the number of times he brought this up. His vote against cat control bylaws, and comment highlighting his strong opposition was his 20 plus years in government and how cat issues were never a big problem with people having to use common sense. His seniority has nothing to do with the present. If there was an excess of common sense, council would find an excess of free time instead of developing bylaws to manage lack of common sense. His vote felt self-serving. I wonder how many outdoor cats he has leaving his yard?