There is another discussion, debate or argument going on in Halifax, Canada about how to manage feral cats. It is good that feral cats are frequently discussed in North America nowadays because something forward thinking and humane needs to be done rather than simply reporting on the large number of feral cats which irritates a lot of people.
There are several camps in this debate. One is for increased TNR and another for increased regulations governing cat ownership. The former is reactive while the latter is proactive. Both can run side-by-side in fact.
This brings me to the three rules of cat ownership in Halifax. I have never seen these before and therefore they are of interest to me.
A Halifax resident (a ‘Haligonian’ believe it or not) who owns a cat must:
- keep (prevent) their cat from damaging private or public property and;
- collect the faeces of their cats if they defecate on someone else’s land (property) and;
- prevent their cat from attacking a person or animal.
Numbers 1 and 3 are not a big issue as they rarely happen in my experience. In winter, outside cats do jump up onto car hoods (‘bonnets’ in the UK) because they are warm. In doing this a cat might scratch the paint. This is damage to another person’s property. As for 3 if a domestic cat attacks a person other than his owner it is likely that the person provoked it. Therefore there’d be a defence. This may be a tricky rule to enforce.
The most complaints in Halifax under these rules will most likely come from land owners annoyed at a neighbor’s cat defecating on their garden. If a cat did this how would the owner be able to pick up the poop if the neighbour was so pissed off with the cat owner he’d be reluctant to let him on his property? There may be complications in enfacing this rule too. Evidence will be a problem. Proving the identity of the creator of the poop might be challenging unless caught red handed. What about DNA testing?!
A violation of these rules may result in a summary offence ticket of $237.50 or greater. The cat owner may also face a criminal prosecution. Alternatively a warning may be issued by a Compliance Officer.
Source: Halifax.ca and the Halifax code on responsible pet ownership which you can read by clicking on the link below: