Should the city get into cat adoption? Follow Hamilton council live

Follow our live blog of Hamilton city council tonight. One councillor wants the city to adopt out more cats rather than euthanizing them, and the city will affirm its commitment to Canada Post door-to-door mail delivery.

In 2014, Hamilton Animal Services euthanized 641 cats

Paige Robichaud sent this photo of her cat Sapphire to the CBC. In Hamilton, Coun. Sam Merulla wants Hamilton Animal Services to start adopting out cats. (Paige Robichaud )

Local animal lovers are keeping their fingers crossed this week as a Hamilton councillor takes another stab at getting an animal shelter to adopt out potential pets.

Coun. Sam Merulla will float a motion asking Hamilton Animal Services (HAS), the municipal service that deals with lost or stray animals, to set up a system to adopt out the animals. He wants it to work with the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA.

Currently, HAS doesn’t adopt out animals, nor does it allow volunteers to socialize with the animals to keep them adoption-ready. At its height, HAS euthanized as many as 4,000 unwanted cats per year.

In 2014, HAS euthanized 641 cats, while 671 were pulled by Hamilton-Burlington SPCA and 1,365 by other local volunteer rescues.

Adopting them out is not a new idea. HAS is already working on a plan to come to city council in 2015 to allow outside adoptions and volunteers.

“We realize we need to make some changes,” Paola Pianegonda, manager of animal services, told CBC Hamilton last year.

Local animal lovers have been pushing for about 11 years to see an adoption program happen. From protests to letter-writing campaigns, “there are a lot of people behind the scenes who have worked their tails off,” said Jill McKerrow Collins, who runs a Facebook pushing for adoptions.

“I really, at this point, don’t care where the credit goes as long as it’s done,” she said.

This is Merulla’s second animal-related motion in six months.

In September, he asked PetSmart Charities of Canada for help to adopt out HAS animals and to set up a mobile low-cost spay and neuter program.

If it passes, staff will report back to the city planning committee on the feasibility of a partnership.

Here’s what else is on council’s agenda:

  • The Juno Awards are March 13 to 15 in Hamilton, and a number of bars and venues want to extend the hours they serve alcohol until 4 a.m. Coun. Jason Farr will ask the city to grant permission for three more venues — Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Hess Village bars Konoba and Sizzle & Koi to serve until 4 a.m. too. More than a dozen places already have permission, including the Casbah and This Ain’t Hollywood.
  • Council will ratify a planning decision to allow a zoning amendment for Francois and Nicole Risdon’s cat kennel on Millgrove Side Road. The Risdons spent about $10,000 for the amendment because the city defines a kennel as containing dogs, not cats.
  • Council will ratify a decision to write to the federal government asking to suspend Canada Post’s plan to eliminate door-to-door service. It will also ratify a vote to incorporate the mailboxes into an existing bylaw that governs the installation of road-side infrastructure.

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