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Five cat limit among Animal Act changes in Yorkton

Honey bees OK, backyard chickens not
bees 1
Backyard bees in Yorkton will now require license. (File Photo)

YORKTON - If you want to own a passel of pussycats, Yorkton is no longer the city for you. 

Residents will now be limited to five cats – unless you are with a verified rescue -- following Yorkton Council unanimously passing a series of amendments to the Animal Control Bylaw at the regular meeting of Council Monday. 

“This change is in response to some issues we are facing with properties housing too many cats. We are proposing to limit the number of cats per residence to five,” explained Nicole Baptist – Bylaw & Safety Supervisor with the City. 

There had also been a consideration to license cats, but that was not part of the amendments. 

“It’s important to note that Administration has considered licensing cats the same way that we licence dogs. Through our research, most municipalities licence cats. The licensing process may also assist us regulating how many cats are living in each residence. However, at this time, Administration is recommending that we do not licence cats because we do not have the staff resources to maintain a cat licence database,” noted the report to Council. 

The amendments did include people keeping honeybees needing a license, but not leafcutter bees. 

“Administration would recommend that the City only licence for honeybees. The size of honeybee hives is much larger with many more bees than the leafcutter beehives that we are seeing. In the future if leafcutter beehives in the community do become larger, we may need to revisit this, but at this point Administration recommends that leafcutter bees be allowed, but not require licences,” said Baptist. 

Baptist also noted over the last couple years the City has received a small handful of requests or interest in permitting more animals that are currently prohibited. 

The requests included sugar gliders, chickens, miniature pigs and ball pythons. 

In terms of sugar gliders “through further research, Administration learned that sugar gliders are not permitted under the Captive Wildlife Regulations and therefore we are not able to allow this under our Bylaw,” said Baptist. 

Pigs and chickens were also a no. 

“The majority of municipalities in Saskatchewan do not permit chickens or miniature pigs,” offered Baptist. 

Baptist said chickens often attract foxes and coyotes so were not recommended. 

As for pigs “Administration does not recommend that we permit miniature pigs due to the risk of the pigs going feral and doing extensive property damage,” she said. 

“Currently in our Animal Control Bylaw, all pythons and boas are prohibited and this is the case in the vast majority of other municipalities in the Province. Although ball pythons are now permitted under the Captive Wildlife Regulations, Administration recommends that we do not permit ball pythons as we are not equipped with the resources to address it should the snakes ever get loose,” continued Baptist.