Big Valley council has passed a by-law on cat registration

NEWS AND COMMENT-BIG VALLEY, CANADA: Councillors, the ladies and gentlemen who run the village (which I'm told that it is), have decided to pass a by-law which makes it mandatory to register your cat with the council or some other agency appointed by the council. This is not a world first as far as I am aware but it is very rare indeed to introduce cat registration in line with dog registration.

Big Valley Council passed a bylaw on cat registration
Big Valley Council passed a by-law on cat registration. Image: MikeB

And it is reported that the reason why the council has introduced cat registration is so they can identify the owners of cats which citizens regard as troublesome because, for example, they damage people's property. This can lead to retaliation in which cats are harmed or even killed resulting in police involvement.

They say that concerned residents who don't like to see stray cats wandering around can use traps to contain them and take them, I presume, to a pound or shelter but they still don't know who owns the cat at least initially until they are scanned for a microchip. But sometimes cats aren't microchipped.

The strong argument is that if cats are registered, they will know who owns each cat. The mayor of the village, Clark German, was in favour of the new bylaw because the cats should be under the control of their owner. One councillor said that free range cats help to control the mouse population and that it is the owners who are to blame for any nuisance not the cats.

Despite this counterargument the councillors passed the law. So, there you have it: there will be cat registration in line with dog registration in the village of Big Valley!

Comment: registration of cats without micro-chipping might not work! You can't necessarily identify a cat by their appearance. I would have thought obligatory micro-chipping should go hand in hand with registration. And micro-chipping should be kept up to date because often the details become out of date as the owner moves home. Or the cat belongs to somebody else in due course.

This little story is very typical of much wider issues concerning cat ownership and whether cats should be allowed free access to the outside at their will. It is an ongoing debate in many jurisdictions in Canada, America, Europe, the UK and other countries. Australia probably leads the way in this debate

As I recall, one Aussie jurisdiction has introduced registration with limited success. Another problem is that you don't know who the cat owners are at the moment. If they don't come forward to register the cats you don't know that they haven't come forward.

This would particularly apply if in response to knowing about this new bylaw some people kept their cats inside for a while. Therefore, the law might be difficult to enforce accurately. It is the same with obligatory micro-chipping. How many people will volunteer their cats to be microchip? And if they don't what does the council do about it?

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