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The claws are out: residents upset with Unity animal bylaws

The fur is flying online over announcement of changes to the animal bylaw.
Cats and dogs are a hot topic online, following the announcement of changes to the animal bylaws.

UNITY — With the recent uproar on Facebook surrounding the animal bylaws in Unity, pet owners and non-pet owners alike have burrs in their fur. The post was originally intended to make pet owners aware of the bylaw, however, the wording of the bylaw is not ideal to what worried pet owners want to hear.

If an animal is running at large and is captured, the animal is held for 72 hours, when owners would be able to claim the pet, after paying a fine and any associated fees. If that animal is wearing a collar, with a licence attached, owners would receive a call regarding their missing pet. However, if the animal is not claimed, the town has some options to explore; finding a new owner, surrendering the animal to a pet facility or euthanasia.

Euthanasia is what has pet owners upset. I understand why, as that is the first option that is written in the bylaw. Now, I do believe that our local town government is not out to destroy our pets, yet they do have to somehow control stray populations.

As a pet owner myself, I have ensured that my pet is unable to roam free, however, accidents happen. I have been able to secure my pet within moments of her running away, and a good scolding makes her realize she did wrong. Prior to owning my pet, I had a problem with neighbourhood cats defecating in my vegetable garden and children’s sandbox as well as tearing open my garbage bags the night before garbage pick-up. Even though the cats were someone’s pet, I was the one left cleaning up the messes.

The town office has received many complaints over the years about neighbourhood pets and strays being a nuisance. One resident told me that they called the office because one of the neighbours had more than the allotted two cats and felt that the animals were in distress, with the concerns from all the neighbours being valid in the end.

With the town announcing that all pets need to be licenced, including cats, they are trying to ensure that pets who do roam, are not captured and harmed. In my opinion, this is responsible pet ownership. I have made sure my pet has all proper identification. For example, not many pet owners are aware that the rabies tags our local veterinary clinic gives have a QR code. This free profile allows owners to update contact information, provide photos of the pet and where the animal calls home. The owner is responsible for setting up the pet profile, however, may help in the future when Fido or Mittens happens to escape the safety of their home. 

I suppose the takeaway from all of this is to get your fur-babies licensed and let’s all be responsible pet owners.

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