Vernon politicians don’t appear eager to issue licenses to cat owners.
A representative from the B.C. SPCA told city council Monday that the agency would be interested in investigating licenses as a way of controlling the cat population in the community. Licensing could also help fund the SPCA’s activities.
“We have a lot of seniors with cats that never leave the house and they don’t need another cost,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
“There has to be another way to find funding.”
Mayor Akbal Mund is also cautious about the concept.
“I haven’t even thought about it. I’d have to go and look at it further,” he said.
SPCA officials point out that other jurisdictions have initiated cat licenses similar to those for dogs.
“In Calgary, it’s worked extremely well,” said Chelsea Taylor, Vernon branch manager.
In 2014, the Vernon branch received 231 kittens and 218 cats, as well as 129 dogs and 49 puppies.
Based on the average length of stay, the average cost for the SPCA to care for each animal is $665 for a cat and $615 for a kitten ($505 for a dog and $670 for a puppy). This includes spaying/neutering, a tattoo or microchip, parasite treatment, medical care, sheltering, staff wages and facility expenses.
In 2013, it cost more than $435,000 to operate the Vernon shelter.
Funding comes from adoption fees, service fees for surrendering an animal, and community donations.
“We don’t receive government funding from any level of government,” said Taylor.
Coun. Brian Quiring was surprised at what it costs to care for an animal.
“People should think twice before they let their cat have kittens,” he said.