Dysart cat bylaw mooted after complaint
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | August 31, 2017|
Eagle Lake residents are hoping for swift action to eliminate a cat odour problem in their neighbourhood, but according to the Municipality of Dysart, a quick solution is unlikely.
Sandra Grove spoke to councillors during a council meeting Aug. 21 and explained how a neighbouring home – which according to her and other residents may be housing up to 20 cats – is affecting people’s ability to enjoy the outdoors because of the extreme odours.
It’s been a recurring problem for more than a decade, said Grove.
“Spring is when the smell got really bad,” she said. “We can’t spend time outdoors because of the smell.”
But there’s nothing that can be done about it now, said Kristen Boylan, Dysart’s bylaw enforcement officer.
“The municipality does not have a bylaw in place with respect to cats,” Boylan told The Highlander.
This was her first formal complaint about cats since being appointed last year.
If a bylaw is passed – which would only happen if the house in question doesn’t take immediate steps to mitigate the problem – fines will likely be implemented.
“I cannot determine what future fines might be when council at this time has not directed the draft of a bylaw,” said Boylan.
Limiting the number of cats in a household is another possibility, said Dysart Reeve Murray Furray.
“We’ll look at those options,” he said.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health unit (HKPR) is unable to do anything about it either, said Neha Gandhi, the area health inspector for Dysart.
“The responsibility falls back to the owner to clean it up,” said Gandhi, referring to cats defecating on private property.
Bites and scratches from a feral cat, however, is something the health unit can follow up on, because of the potential for rabies, she said.
The Health Protection and Promotion Act demands anyone with a pet that has bitten, is suspected of having bitten a person, or is suspected by the medical officer of health of having rabies, must “provide the medical officer of health with such information and assistance with respect to the animal as the medical officer of health requires.”
Other municipalities in the county don’t have specific bylaws in place for cats either, but do require dog owners to tag their dogs.
Highlands East will deal with feral cats on an “as needed basis,” according to Wayne Galloway, the municipality’s bylaw enforcement officer.
“Any feral cats that are trapped are turned over to Cottage Country Cat Rescue, and the costs to have them spayed or neutered are paid for by the municipality,” he said.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.