By Sherril Guthrie. As the chronic problem of cat overpopulation and outdated municipal bylaws are an important issue right now on Abbotsford Today, I’m submitting a recent press release by Environment Canada. All readers interested in the cat crisis will be interested in this.
The link above to the Environment Canada report and news release, Tuesday Oct. 2, 2013, by CBC, further underscores the urgency and importance of municipal action on BC’s Cat Crisis.
Locally, not only does the ongoing Cat Crisis in Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and the Lower Mainland routinely drain valuable private and public funds and human resources that could be better spent on a real solution (Responsible Cat Ownership with Bylaws education, incentives and enforcement to match), the cat crisis – like any environmental disaster – is destroying our native and migratory bird populations.
Thanks to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, cities, municipalities and Canadian residents don’t have the right (in any way) to harm, capture, kill, or even disturb the nests of most of the birds you see in your back yard, local green belts and parks from early spring to late fall.
Why not? It’s illegal!
But cities, municipalities, and some residents do it any way.
So irresponsible cat owners are not only causing an expensive problem that fuels the ongoing cruelty and neglect of cats and kittens, their illegal practice of allowing their cats free roam to hunt, kill, or maul whatever they find, is decimating bird populations. And thanks to kitty cams, wildlife cameras, and plenty of solid, scientific research, we know cats (along with their irresponsible owners) are the culprits. And their acts, often committed under the cover of darkness or concealed by shrubs, are illegal.
Now that’s a lot of harm and destruction for a problem that can be fixed by each and every BC resident and municipality.
There is a solution that benefits everyone – cat lovers, bird lovers, non-pet owners and gardeners, and even animal welfare staff and volunteers, and municipalities: Responsible pet Ownership with bylaws to match.
But until that happens, let’s each do our part to change and eliminate outdated and harmful pet owner behaviours, such as not spaying and neutering, and allowing the free roam of cats.
We can begin today and have a huge, positive impact in our own neighbourhoods by implementing these simple, considerate behaviours that help protect our environment and the birds that depend on it. We can then write or call to insist that our Mayor and Councillors step up to the plate and finally take responsibility for animal control and responsible pet ownership in each municipality. They’re supposed to be doing that anyway.
Without solid leadership on this issue, the cat crisis, particularly in growing municipalities, will only get worse. Time and history stand as proof of this already.
For more on this issue: