This is Ray. You can tell that he is decent bloke. He lives a modest life with his wife in Crowsnest Pass. He has had a long relationship with the feral cats of the area and helped get them off the street and into homes. There is clearly a big problem with feral cats in the area as Ray’s efforts barely make a dent in the feral cat population.
Ray adopted some of the feral cats he rescued. Most of them were adopted by others. He kept seven cats – all indoor cats. They are his family.
Complaints about feral cats lead to changes in the animal control bylaws of Crowsnest Pass 1. Ray and his wife are now in violation of these bylaws. Where once he was doing some good for the community he is now deemed a criminal being levied with multiple fines totalling $800.
He is accused of letting cats run loose and defecate ‘off his property’. There is a limit of two cats over the age of 3 months per owner (which have to be licensed) so he finds himself in violation of the 2 cat law. And Ray says that the cats outside his property are feral and of course he has no control over them. The mayor says Ray is feeding the feral cats and therefore whether they are his cats or not Ray is encouraging the congregation of cats because he is feeding them. This is an issue because neighbours complain about the odor but there is no odor apparently.
Ray is forced to decide which of his cats he wants to keep. He can’t do that. He could apply for a develop permit to operate a kennel which would allow him to keep more than 2 cats. This is a story about the struggle of local authorities in North America to find a way of dealing with the minority of irresponsible cat owners and to reduce the number of feral cats. Feeding feral cats has been a problem for a long time. Ray is an an unintended victim of this process in my opinion. He is a responsible cat owner trying to deal humanely with feral cats. He does not deserve to be punished for being a decent citizen of Crowsnest Pass.
1. Crowsnest Pass, Alberta/Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada.
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