REPORTING · 24th March 2012
Kitimat is looking at stepping up its Animal Control Bylaws. At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, March 12, Maryanne Baumbach from the Kitimat Human Society discussed what city Council could do to make animal control easier. Council asked plenty of questions during this meeting.
She started with the microchip program. Since it started last year, she has had waiting lists and cannot keep the microchips in stock. With all the pets going missing last year, people thought it was a great idea. 275 animals have been chipped thus far. 150 are waiting for chips.
The chipping program has a cost of $20 per pet. The cost handles the cost of the chip and the shipping and handling. The chips contain the pet owner’s information. It does not track the whereabouts of the animal.
Baumbach explained the average household in Kitimat has 3-4 animals. Some are more. According to Councillor Edwin Empinado, the current limit is 7 pets.
Councillor Corrine Scott suggested a by-law limiting it to two pets. Any further requires a Kennel License. Councillor Mary Murphy stated the reason the limit is 7 was because there are a lot of pets which are unwanted.
She moved on to the Mandatory Spay/Neuter bylaw. “There are a number of unfixed animals in the community and the shelter is overwhelmed. Dogs, we are able to transfer. We are adopting them out,” said Baumbach. “Our cats are a major problem in this community.”
Baumbach was forced to Euthanize 40 cats last week because they were sick. There are 120 in the shelter and thirty people are on waiting lists until they have room. Cats are either dumped or dropped off anonymously.
Kittens can be sent off to homes right away. Adult cats however stay at the shelter until they can be placed or euthanized. Around 900 cats go through the shelter in a year. Half of them can be placed.
When an animal is adopted, the people who adopt are screened before the cats are placed. In addition, she has to be the one to put down the animals and is beginning to burn out.
Baumbach explained it is disheartening for her to have to hold the cat and apologize because the pet has to die because of an irresponsible owner. She said there are good owners but there are also owners doing backyard breeding.
The Humane Society stated they do try to educate people on the spay / neuter program. However, not everyone is ready to accept the program. She was not certain what the municipality could do rather then make sure people were aware of the bylaws.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know how this by-law would fix the problem of unaltered animals. Baumbach explained pets which are not spayed or neutered who are taken in are not released to the owner until they are spayed.
The Humane Society plans on going on a door to door campaign with the education information if such a bylaw is passed. At the moment, impounded pets who have been caught while running loose are released with a warning and a license. Fines stack up for repeat offenders.
Baumbach stated if the animal shelter has to take the puppies from a litter because the owner was unable to find homes for them, then the animal who produced the puppies has to be spayed. This has affected the number of dogs going through the shelter.
Feldhoff suggested the owner spend a week working in the shelter.
Baumbach explained a program so low income owners can use to help them with the spay / neuter program. She suggested Kitimat become a community with a spay / neuter program for pets and apply for grant funding.
They discussed by-law enforcement and amending the municipal code.
Feldhoff made a motion to have administration come back with options for bylaws based on the discussion which took place at Council. It was carried.
Getting it done
Comment by Linda M on 8th April 2012
Lets see some of the great ideas Maryanne has, actually put into action. Shes the one who would know what should be done to make things better, not council. Lets find her some more money to run the shelter and put her suggestions in motion.
Anything to cut the number of unwanted animals in our community. It would be wonderful to be known as a no kill shelter.
You can donate to the shelter on my website with a credit card or Paypal from home
Comment by Carol on 29th March 2012
If the city of Calgary can reduce the number of cats roaming neighbourhoods, by tagging all cats then why can't Kitimat do the same.
Cats on the loose kill birds. Read BC Nature regarding Cat Licensing Summer 2009 Vol 47 No. 2 or go to www.bcnature.ca