Should abandoning a cat be a crime?

The Nova Scotia government wants to make it illegal to abandon cats, but admits it doesn’t know how such a law would be enforced.

Nova Scotia government plans new laws to curb feral population

Catching people abandoning cats would be tough, the government admits. (Toronto Feral Cat Project)

The Nova Scotia government wants to make it illegal to abandon cats, but admits it doesn’t know how such a law would be enforced.

Keith Colwell, the agriculture minister, said the move would tackle the province’s feral cat population, which he said is a problem.

"The wild cat population is out of control,” he said.

Part of the solution is spaying or neutering wild cats, he said, but he also wants to take legal action to prevent domestic cats from being turned out in the wild.

"We're going look at one thing, that you're not allowed to abandon a cat. A lot of people drive along the road and throw a cat out and then it becomes a problem,” he said.

“I don't know how we're going to enforce that. That's the issue.”

Tougher neglect laws

It would be difficult to catch people violating the proposed law, he said, and difficult to bring people to court.

His department is considering ticketing people found neglecting or abusing pets, whatever animal they are, “instead of having to go the long process to court, which we will still have the ability to do,” he said.
“They can write a ticket on the spot."

Colwell would like to see the change brought in this spring.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.