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Fredericton NB Pet Bylaw - editorial in Frederictn Gleaner

March 28th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Daily Gleaner | Editorials
As published on page C7 on March 28, 2006

Cat traps may help solve problem
In our view: Animal control bylaw must be enforced

Cat owners in the city may want to pay heed to what their beloved feline is doing in their absence. If not, they may have to make a trip to the SPCA to locate said feline.

Thanks to a city program involving the issue of live-animal traps, residents of Fredericton don't need to put up with cats defecating in their flower beds or hunting birds in their yards. City Bylaw S-11 stipulates that domestic animals - cats and dogs - are not allowed to run at large.

Residents who have a problem with a stray cat can pay a $40 deposit to get a live-animal trap from the city. Cats caught in this manner are treated humanely and turned over to the SPCA after which the city refunds $30 of the homeowner's deposit.

In addition to the nuisance factor, we feel the animals' safety is a reason to support the use of these traps, if a neighbourhood situation gets out of hand. Cats - and dogs - can easily be struck by a passing vehicle as they dart across the street.

Traps, however, are not the only answer.

Unlike dog owners, cat owners have the luxury of being able to keep their animals indoors most of the time. Cats are trained to use a litter box.

We feel all pet owners, including cat owners, must obey the city bylaw and keep their animals on a leash when they take their animals outdoors.

Morton Caplan, author of The Pet Doctor, says indoor cats easily adapt to going outside on a leash that is attached to a collar or harness.

"At first the cat will probably struggle and fuss but it will soon learn that the leash means access to a fascinating world of sights and smells, grass to nibble, insects to play with and so on," Caplan said.

He does caution that a leashed cat should never be left unattended for fear it could become entangled or left unable to escape or defend itself if approached by a loose dog.

Speaking of loose dogs, the city of Fredericton has created a perfect venue for dog owners who want to see their companions running freely and socializing with other dogs. The northside dog park, with rules and regulations of its own, by all reports and personal observation is a great addition to the city's recreation options.

It may be time to suggest a similar facility for dogs be established somewhere on the south side of the city.

Another important reminder this time of year - remember to stoop and scoop. It's your civic responsibility and also covered in Bylaw No. S-11, a Bylaw Respecting Animal Control.

"A pet is a pet is a pet and technically you are obligated to have your pets under your control," Coun. David Kelly says. "People in all wards have an issue with stray animals. This is a complaint that I get every spring."