Cat owners in Winnipeg are likely scratching and hissing as the city moves closer to a bylaw requiring kitties be licensed.
But the head of the city committee looking at it is opposed, calling it a tax on cats.
"Really what it is you know, they're looking to set up kind of a cat bureaucracy," said Coun. Scott Fielding, who owns two cats himself.
The Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services will consider the report recommending the new bylaw on July 4.
The report notes that Calgary, which licenses cats, has a 52 per cent return rate on lost felines while Winnipeg's rate is only nine per cent.
If passed, the program will start Jan. 1, 2015, and charge $15 annually for spayed or neutered cats or $50 for those unfixed.
Failure to license a cat would result in a $250 fine, similar to the fine imposed for the failure to license a dog.
The proposal also calls for half of the gross proceeds be used to expand the Winnipeg Humane Society's spay and neuter programs and provide funding for the same to their partner organizations such as Winnipeg Pet Rescue and D’Arcy’s A.R.C.
Fielding said he likes that aspect of the proposal but reiterated "I just don't support a new cat license."
Additional highlights from the proposed bylaw include:
- Allowing residents of Winnipeg to own or harbour up to six dogs and cats, four of which may be dogs. The previous bylaw allowed for a maximum of three dogs and three cats.
- Travelling zoos, exhibits or circuses will only be able to exhibit or use dogs, cats, and commercial animals. The use of exotic animals will not be allowed in travelling shows or circuses (27 other Canadian municipalities restrict the use of exotic animals in circuses).
- Urban chicken keeping in Winnipeg will be allowed only in areas that are agriculturally zoned due to potential food safety, humane and neighbourhood liveability issues.
- Maintaining the ban on pit bulls in Winnipeg.