Ban on feeding feral cats lifted in city; new rules limit practice

Residents of Duncan can now feed ownerless cats, under certain conditions.

  • Feb. 19, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Robert Barron Citizen

Residents of Duncan can now feed ownerless cats, under certain conditions.

City council decided at Monday’s meeting that people can feed up to five feral cats, but the citizens must be registered with a city-recognized organization with a trap, neuter, and return program, such as Cowichan Cat Rescue, as well as the city’s poundkeeper and the local office of the SPCA.

The feeders must also provide evidence of a plan for the care, feeding and mandatory spaying/neutering, tattooing, and vaccination of each cat.

The city’s bylaw, adopted in November of 2015, prohibited the feeding of ownerless cats or cats without identification.

The intention of the bylaw was to mainly assist in preventing the establishment of large colonies of unwanted cats, which can result in rodents and other unwanted animals being attracted to the feeding stations, and to assist in addressing the “collecting” of a large number of cats on a single property.

But shortly after the bylaw was implemented, letters were received from the Cowichan Cat Rescue Society and members of the public citing concerns with the new provisions as it prevents organizations, such as the society, from engaging in their trap, neuter and return programs.

The society’s mandate is to trap feral cats through outdoor feeding colonies, have them spayed or neutered, vaccinated and tattooed, then released back to where they were trapped so that they do not continue to produce offspring.

“I am pleased that the city was able to find a solution for organizations such as the Cowichan Cat Rescue Society who do great work with their trap, neuter and return program while retaining the original intent of the bylaw,” said Mayor Phil Kent.

“With the additional provision of making it mandatory for every owner of a cat who goes outdoors to be spayed or neutered, coupled with the TNR program, it will assist in preventing uncontrolled breeding in order to effectively reduce the population of cats in the wild.”