CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Monday, Aug. 12, Council received a report from City of Cornwall administration that recommended that all cats be spayed or neutered (de-sexed) and that all owned cats be kept indoors.
The recommendations made to Council in the report will form the basis of a by-law that will be presented to Council later in the year.
The main recommendations focus around ensuring that all owned cats are de-sexed within five years and that feral, or community cats are trapped, de-sexed and released.
“What’s key is having the cats de-sexed,” said Chris Rogers, the City’s top by-law official. “Whether it is feral cats or community cats or household cats because that is the ultimate population control measure.”
To help facilitate and encourage that the by-law is enforced, administration recommends that the City sets aside $40,000 annually to subsidize the de-sexing of owned and community cats.
Of that budget, $15,000 will be dedicated to subsidize the de-sexing of owned cats and will be made available to cat owners based on an income test. Under these recommendations, all owned cats must be de-sexed within five years.
The City will also dedicate a little over $10,000 to encourage residents to bring in un-owned cats in their community to be de-sexed.
Community organizations that are dedicated to the welfare of animals and rescue of cats will be given vouchers to help them with the cost of de-sexing cats that come into their care. There will be 65 vouchers for which the City will set aside nearly $10,000.
Finally, roughly $5,000 will be given to the OSPCA to help with the cost of bringing in their mobile cat clinic to Cornwall.
In October 2018, the OSPCA cat clinic came to Cornwall after over 400 requests were made to the OSPCA, on that single day, the OSPCA performed 40 de-sexing procedures.
The other main component of administrations recommendations is the requirement that cats be kept indoors.
Rogers said that 30 per cent of the cats that are brought in to the OSPCA are community cats, but that the rest are owned. He said that he felt that often, owned cats were let out, and would procreate.
“It is important to stem that supply, by requiring all cats to be left in doors,” he said.
Council had a few questions about the implementation of a future by-law, but overall seemed satisfied with the report.
“Its not a purrfect by-law, but its a start,” said Councillor Claude McIntosh (the pun was intended).
Members of the public packed the council room to hear the details of the report. Mary Jane Proulx, a long time advocate for a trap, neuter and release focused by-law also seemed satisfied with the report.
“It is a start,” she said.”We have to start somewhere and over the years we will iron out the problems.”