St. Albert has an opportunity to provide better protection for cats. The city does provide recommendations on how to care for cats and what to do if a stray cat is found. However, there is no bylaw for licensing cats and regulating situations in which a cat found outdoors is causing issues.
In 2007, the City of Calgary made cat licenses mandatory. The cost of the licensing depends on whether or not the cat is fixed. As licensing numbers went up, Calgary saw a decline in stray cats and a reduction in euthanasia rates. Those who do not license their cat face a fine of $250 if caught.
Licensing cats goes beyond simply holding owners accountable for their pets. It’s an effective tool in an overall program that helps protect cats from harm, keeps them healthy, and provides a way to bring a lost pet safely back to their home.
Money collected from licensing fees and fines will go directly to programs that help cats and other animals. These potential programs can include the following:
- Medical care for injured animals
- Establishment of a local animal adoption centre
- Free spaying/neutering for those who cannot afford the procedure
Additionally, creating a partnership with animal protection services in neighboring communities is worth exploring to share insight and resources.
If elected, I will work with council and the City to establish an effective bylaw that licenses cats and set up programs that help our animals stay safe and healthy.