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Resident’s complaint leads to Council eying cat bylaw

August 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown has promised to one day look into developing a new bylaw regulating cat ownership after one local resident told Council Monday that her property is being attacked by neighbourhood felines.

Monika Nelson said she has spent the better part of a year cleaning up after animals who, she claims, have a thing for doing their business on her lawn. Living on a property close to Island Lake Conservation Area, Ms. Nelson has called on Council to introduce new rules and regulations for cats in the community. 

“All cats and dogs in Toronto must be licensed and tagged. It’s the same in Guelph. I absolutely understand how difficult it would be for the Town to introduce this law and to police it, but I’m having issues with cats entering my property,” Ms. Nelson stated. “My front yard is covered with poo and pee of cats, (because) cats are just allowed to be outside.”

She believes she has found the source of her particular problem – a stubborn cat belonging to, as she described, a difficult neighbour. Ms. Nelson told Council she has tried to fix this issue herself, but had to involve Orangeville Police when the situation escalated out of control. 

“The owners of the cat tell me that cats aren’t regulated, so what can I do?” Ms. Nelson said. “I would like to have this regulation so I can feel safe and free in my backyard. I don’t believe I’m the only one here in Orangeville with this issue.”

Pausing for a moment, Ms. Nelson seemingly awaited a response from Council. When one wasn’t forthcoming, she was a little more creative in the lead-up to her next request.

“Other people like to enjoy their yards, their property, but they can’t do it. Would you consider putting restrictions on animal owners, whether it be a cat, dog, or crocodile – whatever it is.” Owners needed to take “full responsibility.

“I’m taking responsibility for my child. My child does not go to someone’s back yard and do poo and pee. I would like to see the same (respect by animal owners). We should treat people’s property with respect.”

Ms. Nelson informed Council she has spent hours picking up waste from her yard, and scrubbing exterior surfaces of her home after noticing a considerable buildup of cat poop by her basement windows. She was also upset that expensive flowers she had invested in for her yard had been destroyed by the cats frequenting her property.

But it’s not just aesthetics that Ms. Nelson is worried about – she is concerned for her children’s health and safety when playing in a yard that may be littered with cat waste. 

Discussing the broader issue of cat regulation in the community, Coun. Grant Peters said this was a growing problem in Orangeville. He noted he has received complaints about a lack of regulation for cats from numerous residents.

“I understand other municipalities either have, or are looking into programs. Our staff is busy doing a variety of things (right now). Whether it would be a bylaw officer, police or any sort of regulatory body, enforcing this type of issue is difficult,” Coun. Peters said. “I don’t have a resolution, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this concept brought back to the table at some point.”

Town Clerk Karen Landry informed Council that her department was in the process of looking at the municipality’s various regulatory bylaws and plans to discuss potential changes with Council in the near future. When asked by Mayor Brown if Orangeville currently has any bylaws covering cat regulation, Ms. Landry confirmed no such bylaw exists.

“This sounds like one heck of a cat,” Mr. Brown told Ms. Nelson. “I want you to know we’re concerned about this, we’re on board with your complaint and we understand it. What you’ve described is not something we want to see happening and we need to correct it and look at how to do that.”

He concluded, “We don’t have any immediate attention, but this will be remembered and looked after in the future.”



         

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