Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cats! Cats! Cats!

CJOB seems to have broken a story this morning about a proposed Responsible Pet Ownership By-law that among other things, will require cat owners to license their cats, at a cost of $15/cat. This proposed by-law would also only allow pet stores to sell cats and dogs that have come from a shelter rather than breeders (or worse, places like puppy mills).

 Of course, the new "tax" (not a tax, but that's what the crazy people started calling it) on cats got all sorts of people calling in and complaining. Are you kidding me? Heck, it could almost be considered unfair that currently dog owners are forced to pay $64 for an unfixed dog and $29 for a pooch that has gone under the knife. A responsible pet owner should be happy to pay the fee, and yes, it should be higher for pets that aren't fixed (the proposed fee for cats that aren't fixed is $50). I find it interesting that they are going to want to charge a fee of $300 for people to be allowed to sell animals, that seems like it will be a little difficult to regulate. I foresee a lot of people who are trying to get rid of their one pet (vs. obvious breeders) selling cat supplies that come with a free cat on kijiji.

I think some important questions to be asked are how exactly this $15/cat is going to be spent; currently they are saying it will go towards subsidizing spay and neuter programs, however there should be clarification as to how much, if any will be going towards programs that trap and spay/neuter feral cats and then release them. The sound bites I heard this morning seemed to imply that simply forcing people to license their cats was going to get rid of the feral cat population, which is currently estimated at 80,000-150,000!! Clearly, that is not remotely realistic.

Having a pet is not a right, but a luxury. As pet owners we always need to be aware that a hefty medical bill can pop up, if people claim that they can't afford the $15 (I presume per year) for cat ownership then what does that say about their ability to care for their pet if it becomes sick? Now, I'm a mere mortal, I of course don't have some sort of secret stockpile of funds to pay vet bills but in the back of my mind I know that I might have to. The beautiful Emma pictured above decided to test her will to live to the tune of $600 in 2011 (I am very thankful she only felt the need to spend that much before she got the spring back in her step!)

That said, I am a believer that pets are an important part of a persons overall mental well-being and I don't begrudge lower-income people or even transient people for wanting to be pet owners, so long as they are responsible pet owners as well. Even if people just want to think of the $15 as added insurance that their pet will be returned to them if it goes missing it's well worth it.

If you're on facebook, a couple of groups well worth liking are the Winnipeg Lost Cat Alert and the Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert. Currently the dogs have 6,149 likes and the cats only have 1,582 - lets boost those cat numbers! For all the crap you have filling up your facebook feed wouldn't it be great if along with all the funny/fake-motivational/spiritual/borderline-porn pictures you could help reunite a pet with its owner?

And lastly, I know I've posted it before, but it's such a good one:

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