A ziplock bag of bird carcasses. That’s how Kitimat resident Laurel Woodill got the attention of staff and council at last Monday’s regular council meeting.
Woodill made a presentation to council asking for a cat bylaw to be enacted, in order to save unsuspecting fowl from what she described as a “murderous” creature who has been wreaking havoc on the local bird population.
“We have a new neighbour, her collar says she is ‘Cinderella’,” said Woodill at the council meeting, referring to the cat on her street who she claims is preying on the neighbourhood’s birds. “Let me assure you all that she is the furthest thing from any Cinderella we’re familiar with.”
“She is a voracious, murderous, sneaking, cunning, conniving cat,” Woodill added. “And it is she who is responsible for the daily carnage and mayhem in my yard and property,” she said, holding up the bag of dead birds for emphasis.
Woodill went on in her presentation about how she doesn’t blame the cats for their assaults, but rather their owners, who she deems as irresponsible for letting the animals roam free.
Hilda Littman joined Woodill at council for the presentation, and thinks that cats should be kept inside, and treated the same as dogs who are not properly secured in yards. Both women said they have approached the owners about the felines, but said they have been rebuked, as the owners don’t believe it to be an issue.
“If I wanted a cat I would have one, but I don’t, and I don’t want to tolerate this,” said Hittman of the cat on her street who comes into her yard to hunt birds and squirrels.
She said she’s lived on Angle Street in Whitesail for 26 years, and said she believes all cats should have some form of identification on them, whether it be a chip or a collar.
Littman said she thinks if owners don’t keep their cats inside, they should receive a warning, then a fine, and if there’s a third strike, the cat should be put up for adoption.
The Kitimat Municipal Code states that “any animal running at large or violating any portion of (the Code) commits offence and the animal may be impounded and/or the owner may be prosecuted.” The Municipal Code also states that “no person shall permit a cat or dog to be at large if the animal does not have an internal micro chip for identification purposes.
The Code defines “at large” as an animal not under control on the property of the owner or another person responsible for the animal, when not on a paved roadway or walkway with a person responsible for it, or is not securely confined within an enclosure.
“The mobility of cats is one of those issues that all communities face. Unless they’re tethered in the backyard they’re free to roam and do as they like,” said Mayor Phil Germuth.
He said the topic was obviously an emotional one for Woodill and Littman, and he’s looking forward to options to be brought to council by staff for discussion, and that council is interested in seeing what other municipalities are doing to address the issue.
The Kitimat Municipal Code is available on the District’s website, kitimat.ca, under the Municipal Hall Section. Animal control bylaws can be found in Part 5, under Division 5. There is currently a $25 fee in place for the impoundment of a cat found without a microchip.