When local governments enact legislation, they always do it with the best of intentions.
It has usually been scrutinized to try to discover and eliminate any unintended pitfalls before the bylaws hit the books.
But sometimes they miss something.
We agree with Cowichan Cat Rescue that there needs to be some reconsideration of the City of Duncan’s new bylaw as it pertains to feral cat populations.
Nobody, not rescue organizations or the kind people who put out food for feral cat colonies, want to see the colonies continue on indefinitely.
The goal is to keep the cats from being a nuisance or health hazard and allowing them to live out their lives in the most humane way possible.
What needs to be done with these cats is a brief capture for them to be spayed or neutered, so that the colony will naturally age and die out on its own, and for them to be vaccinated so they are not transmitting diseases.
These are usually not your average house cat. Oftentimes they cannot simply be captured and then adopted out to a loving family. But nor are they able to fend for themselves.
Suddenly cutting off their food supply would be horribly cruel.
We don’t think that starving any animal to death is the intention anyone had when they came up with the provisions of the bylaw.
Perhaps the bylaw only need to be clarified, or perhaps it needs a quick second look to prevent posing an impossible choice for those who have worked to get the area’s feral cat colonies under control for years, and feed the cats on a regular basis.
We know we could never live with our conscience if we had been feeding any animal for years and then suddenly ceased to do so, leaving it to a winter of starvation.
It’s just as bad as the people who drive out to what they believe to be a rural area and dump their dogs and cats out of the car.
Or who move away and leave their pet behind as if it is just supposed to be fine like that.
It’s not the same as feeding a deer or a bear or elk or some other truly stupid behaviour.
It’s about compassion.