City of Nanaimo gathering public input on proposed animal control bylaw

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The City of Nanaimo is gathering public feedback on a proposed animal responsibility bylaw that would require outdoor cats to be kept on their owner’s property.

The bylaw was developed following recommendations from an animal control service review conducted earlier in 2020, according to the city. The findings of the review recommended an amendment to the existing animal control bylaw to focus on the importance of responsible pet ownership.

Provisions include requiring every cat owner to provide the pet with identification and making it mandatory to spay/neuter cats who go outside. The bylaw would also prohibit cats from being at large in public places or on other people’s properties, unless accompanied by its owner. This means cats will only be permitted outside, unsupervised, on the owner’s property.

City council passed a motion on Nov. 16 to postpone a first of three readings of the bylaw to give time to gather public input.

Residents can visit Get Involved Nanaimo to learn about the bylaw, ask questions and provide input.

“We recommend that you review the frequently asked questions and read through the information and links posted to the animal responsibility bylaw feedback page on Get Involved Nanaimo to get a comprehensive understanding of the bylaw.” said Karen Robertson, deputy city clerk.

The new bylaw will also remove references to “restricted dogs”; modernize sections to reflect current best practice on standards of care and change “vicious dog” to “aggressive dog,” according to the city.

Residents have until Dec. 11 to submit feedback. It will then be compiled and submitted to council as part of a report in early January, the city said.

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