An Ontario city has a problem. Actually, it has more than 7,000 of them.
Cornwall, Ont. has too many cats.
The small city, located more than an hour’s drive southeast of Ottawa, has so many felines roaming its streets that the government is contemplating a new bylaw that would require all cats to be kept indoors, unless supervised.
If passed, Cornwall would become the first municipality in Ontario to enact such a measure.
In addition to keeping the animals indoors, the proposed bylaw would order all of the cats to be spayed or neutered within five years, and feral cats would become the responsibility of those who feed them.
Christopher Rogers, the city’s bylaw enforcement supervisor who drafted the legislation, told CTV Ottawa that the recommended bylaw puts in place a “game plan” that is desperately needed.
“According to OSPCA statistics, we have an extraordinary problem here. They’ve described it as a crisis, possibly unlike no other municipality in Ontario,” Rogers said. “I believe it requires extraordinary measures to counteract the problem that we have.”
The conversation about the problem is welcome news to Carol Link, who manages an animal shelter for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Cornwall. She said the shelter receives approximately 700 cats a year, but that number increases to nearly 2,000 per year when feral and surrendered cats are included.
“Last week we had 17 cats dropped off in the centre,” Link said.
The draft bylaw was presented to city council on Monday night. The public will have the opportunity to discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr