SOUTH STORMONT, Ontario – The Township of South Stormont passed a new cat by-law regulating felines in the township at their regular meeting on Oct. 23.
The by-law limits the number of cats permitted in a residential dwelling in urban areas to five.
Some residents are concerned that this restricts their ability to feed stray cats, but South Stormont Mayor Bryan McGillis however said that this is not the case, nor was that the aim of the by-law.
“Nobody is going to get a fine for feeding a cat,” he said. “What we’re trying to discourage is people from feeding stray cats. If you find a stray cat, take it to the OSCPA to be neutered and released.”
In fact, the by-law as passed does not put into force any regulations specifically prohibiting the feeding of stray cats. The by-law as was drafted in the Council’s Agenda only addresses the number of cats that are allowed within a dwelling.
Any urban dwelling that currently has more than five cats is allowed to retain up-to 10 through a grandfather clause, but will not be able to bring in more until they are below the imposed limit of five and at that point, five will be their maximum.
South Stormont Council felt the urgent need to look at their cat by-law after dozens of cats perished in a fire at a cat rescue in Ingleside over the summer.
McGillis acknowledged that the by-law was in part aimed at the incident in Ingleside.
“That kind of thing should be done in a more rural setting,” he said. “A cat rescue shouldn’t be in a residential area.”
The by-law also includes possible next steps, such as an update to the pet licensing system, the creation of new by-law enforcement tools, and the inclusion of exotic pets.