Nanaimo city council passed three readings Monday of an animal responsibility bylaw that will include complaint-driven limitations on roaming cats. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo city council passed three readings Monday of an animal responsibility bylaw that will include complaint-driven limitations on roaming cats. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo passes controversial animal bylaw restricting roaming cats

Bylaw brought back to council table following city staff revisions and legal review

The controversial City of Nanaimo animal responsibility bylaw — featuring crackdowns on roaming cats — is poised to become law.

The bylaw, which stirred up spirited public response when it was first introduced to council in November, was passed along with its associated fees and charges amendment bylaw , which itemizes dog licence fees a and impoundment and boarding maintenance fees for cats, dogs and livestock found at large.

Leon Davis, manager of B.C. SPCA’s Nanaimo branch, who spoke to council, said the bylaw will help lessen the number of stray cats in the city.

“It’s going to reduce a heavy burden on hundreds of community volunteers who are trying to stem the tide of suffering of outdoor and stray cats,” Davis said. “I think agencies, like ours and CatNap, we’ve kind of always felt like the young Dutch lad who tried to plug the leaking dike with his finger, while more leaks just keep springing up everywhere. There’s some people who have said to me they don’t see an issue in their neighbourhood and … it’s because of agencies like ours and CatNap, running at our capacity, to mitigate this issue and it’s not sustainable.”

Davis said the agency deals with about 500 stray cats annually. He spoke in support of the bylaw’s policy which waives seizure and impound fees for cats at large that have been picked up by bylaw enforcement officers, so long as those cats have been sterilized and have identification.

“I know there’s been some disagreement in the community,” Davis said. “Some of it’s driven from misinformation and misunderstanding and some, sadly, has been from outright disinformation, but I think that this is such a foundational welfare bylaw … if unintended issues or burdens arise because of it, it can be revisited any time and I think if we wait until there’s 100 per cent consensus on every minutia and detail on it … then this opportunity is going to be missed.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo councillors vote to recommend bylaw that would keep cats from roaming

Carley Colclough, Nanaimo Animal Control pound and adoption coordinator, expressed confidence that the new bylaw is adequate to support the work Nanaimo Animal Control is required to do.

“I think we have hit the most important points in terms of welfare standards, provisions for cats, removal of the breed-specific [pit bull] legislation, as well as closing several gaps existing in the current bylaw,” she said.

Coun. Ian Thorpe said the bylaw has been contentious and has taken a long time to get to the point of adoption, but it is reasonable, moderate and protects the safety of the animals in the community.

“It’s based on the best practices from other communities and I think it’s really important for our listeners to note that it’s not a case of the city wanting to go out there patrolling to chase down their cats,” Thorpe said. “This bylaw is complaint-driven, so that if a problem situation does arise, we have the tools that our bylaw officers can work with to hopefully deal with it.”

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog voted against second reading of the bylaw, saying he had hoped it would be returned to the city’s governance and priorities committee for further discussion, “given the desire, I think, to have the community to be at least generally supportive of the changes we’re making. I’m not convinced that general support is there yet.”

However, he said it appeared to be council’s will to pass three readings of the bylaw “and make changes later, if in fact, public reaction and the experiences of those enforcing it and the community require it.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Bylaw will lead to cat abandonment

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pet bylaw an ‘anti-animal act’
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

animal welfareCity HallPets

Just Posted

Victoria’s economy is expected to bounce back fairly easily, according to a new report from BMO Capital Markets released April 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria in good position to bounce back post-pandemic, says BMO

City’s smaller size, lower COVID-19 caseload and diverse industry base bode well

This photo shows the aftermath of recent trimming by crews hired by BC Hydro. A spokesperson for BC Hydro says crews trim trees for safety not esthetics, while also noting that it will work with owners of trees wherever possible. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
BC Hydro says safety guides tree removal policy

Crown corporation says it will work with property owners wherever possible

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Victoria police arrested three men following a double stabbing April 19. The two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Three arrested after double stabbing in Victoria

Two people sent to hospital after being stabbed, hit with bear spray

A convicted sex offender, whose crimes included offences against children, was arrested at Gonzales Beach after the man was spotted by an off-duty officer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Convicted sex offender arrested at Gonzales Beach

After committing crimes involving children, offender barred from public beaches, being in proximity to kids

Most Read