Residents of Leduc are overwhelmingly in favour of cracking down on owners of cats that attack humans, after a number of complaints came forward in 2017.
The city is moving to amend its animal bylaw by adding a fine provision for cat attacks, in part based on the results of public consultation and an online survey that received over 1,200 responses.
“We did have a couple cat attacks,” Cameron Chisholm, Leduc manager of RCMP administration and enforcement services, said Friday. “It’s a tool in the tool belt, but it’s not like it’s a huge problem.”
The 10-question survey asked Leduc residents if they would support a bylaw covering cat aggression, with 64 per cent in agreement and 20 per cent undecided. This favourable response wasn’t surprising, Chisholm said.
Under the current bylaw, the fine for a dog attack is $500 for the first offence.
But Chisholm said the main goal of the enforcement branch is “compliance through education,” and a fine would be used as a last resort. Owners have the responsibility to ensure cats don’t enter any other property unless the cat is on a leash not exceeding two metres or has consent, the current bylaw reads.
Another recommended change would create a lesser violation for minor dog attacks. The existing bylaw’s definition of attack is very broad, Chisholm said, so the city plans to implement a six-point aggression scale to define the degree of severity.
Following public feedback, Chisholm said the plan is to keep the current bylaw’s limit that allows each household a maximum of three dogs and three cats. The city also plans to maintain the current list of prohibited animals that includes chickens/hens, bees, goats and poisonous reptiles.
A total of 485 residents were against the acceptance of any additional animals, but 363 people showed interest in allowing chickens or hens in homes.
“The majority of respondents asked the prohibited list remain as is, mindful of other impacts to the quality of life for all citizens, such as noise, smell, health reasons and a potential increase in attracting predators within the city limits,” Chisholm said in a city news release.
After presenting the recommendations to council on Dec. 3, Chisholm said the city will take the proposed amendments to the Leduc Environmental Advisory Board for review before heading back to council.
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