The District of Elkford has amended their Animal Control Bylaw to mandate the annual licensing of cats to promote responsible pet ownership.
The decision follows an initial council discussion in October, whereby the district’s bylaw officer remarked that regular complaints were being made about cats entering private property without permission.
“Cat-specific municipal bylaws help significantly to decrease cat overpopulation, increase the reclaim rates of cats and reunite lost cats with their owners in British Columbia,” reads a post on the District of Elkford’s Facebook page.
“Our hope is that by joining the other British Columbian municipalities that have adopted cat-specific bylaws, we will promote responsible pet ownership and positive advancements in these areas.”
Prior to the amendment, cats were prohibited from freely wandering district properties without consent of the owner, however district staff reported that complaints about roaming felines were difficult to follow up on due to owners denying ownership, and lack of evidence of the offence.
The licensing of cats was deemed an appropriate solution to keep owners accountable for their pets.
“The introduction of licensing for cats may assist in this enforcement as all cats, once licensed, will be traceable to an address,” reads the staff report on the proposal.
The annual licensing fees is $11 for neutered and spayed cats and dogs, and $25 for those intact. Pets licensed after Feb. 26 will face a late fee of $5 per license.
Owners failing to comply with regulations can face fines of up to $50. Fines for cats at-large, as well as failure to license or clean up after cats is the same as those for dogs.
Bylaw enforcement will be educating pet owners about the new rules, and responding to the public’s concerns over the coming weeks.
Any comments, questions or concerns can be directed to email@example.com or 250-865-4024.