A newly updated animal responsibility bylaw in Nanaimo bans cats from running loose on public property — or on someone else’s property — without permission, and puts limits on how long a dog can bark non-stop.
It also sets the maximum number of either animal most people can have at once — five for cats and four for dogs.
The cat-roaming rule will be enforced on a complaint basis, the city said in a statement, which means owners can let their cats outside, but if someone complains, the city will investigate.
Nanaimo is not insisting that cats be on leashes when outdoors, but the city says bylaw officers will step in if they receive a complaint about nuisance, stray or abandoned cats, or a feral population that needs to be dealt with.
Nanaimo carried out extensive consultation with the public before council approved the newly updated animal responsibility bylaw this week.
Other measures for cats include:
• Cats older than six months should be spayed or neutered, unless the owner has a business licence to breed cats.
• There is a limit of five cats per owner, with some exceptions.
• Felines must have identification, such as a tag with an owner’s contact information, a tattoo or a microchip.
• Leaving food out for cats is banned unless it’s by an approved animal welfare organization.
The impound fee for a sterilized cat without identification is $25 plus $10 per day, but for an unsterilized cat, regardless of identification, that rises to $100 plus $10 per day. An owner who gets the cat sterilized within a month of being impounded will be refunded $75.
As for dogs, they are all supposed to wear a licence, to be renewed annually.
Other measures that apply to dogs:
• No one should have more than four dogs at once. As with cats, some exceptions apply.
• If a dog is out in public, it must be on a leash at all times and under the control of a competent person.
• A dog can be off-leash in specially designated areas only and must still be under the control of a competent person.
• Dog feces must be cleaned up and disposed of in a sanitary way. Throwing the bag in the bushes is not permitted, the city says.
• Dogs cannot bark, howl, yelp, cry, or make other noises non-stop for more than 15 minutes or make sounds that disturb the quiet of a neighbourhood.
The impound fee for a licensed dog is $15 plus $15 per day, but if the dog is unlicensed, the fee is $150 plus $15 per day.
The cost of a dog licence is $30 per year for a sterilized animal and $60 for one that is not sterilized.
For more information, go to: nanaimo.ca/city-services/home-property/animals-trees-gardens/animals-in-the-city.