An amendment to the City of Weyburn's Cat and Dog Bylaw was approved unanimously at Monday's meeting of Weyburn City Council, changing the phrasing for the limit of pets from three per person to three per household. Read more HERE.
Board President of the Weyburn Humane Society, Randy Bakaluk, said this came as a surprise to their organization, given that they are the Animal Control service for the City.
"I had spoken with Colleen, our Shelter Manager, and neither one of us had been notified that this is going to be on the agenda," he shared. "Like the public, we had heard rumors that this would possibly be on there, but we had no confirmation."
"If we had known, we would have been at that meeting to speak to it. Most definitely, myself and and Colleen."
He said what surprised them is that they didn't receive even a phone call or an email to let them know.
"I saw the [October] 23rd meeting, I watched it on a computer, but I haven't seen anything about the the last meeting," Bakaluk noted. "But I get the feeling a lot of people aren't totally in favour of the way it's being done, like I figure there should be more conversation to try to clarify different points."
He said they are hoping to get clarification on what responsible pet owners should do if they already have more than three pets.
"That's something that would definitely help and take some of the fear away from people that they're going to lose their animals that they've had for years," Bakaluk said. "You know, a simple thing just a little added clause to it would go a long way."
The WHS board's biggest concern is space at the animal shelter.
"We are filled to the brim, especially with cats, and even dogs, we're getting full, and if all of a sudden people had to get rid of their animals, I don't think we can handle it. We just would not have the space."
"I'm just hoping that we'll be able to have a meeting with whoever we have to talk to the City Hall, just to clarify some of the details in this," he added.
While complaints will likely be the main cause of enforcement, Bakaluk said, in most cases, people do try to keep their animals under control.
"But animals are animals, and you can't muzzle them. They're going to bark at times, and as long as the people try to control that, I think that's more than fair."
He said they are strongly urging pet owners to have their pets microchipped.
"We can test every animal that comes in and it will get them back to the people as soon as we can if a microchip is in there, it's not going anywhere, it's the safest and best way to help get your animal back to you, if they get out, and it makes our job a whole lot easier," he noted. "If your animals get out on you, let us know. We try to keep a record of the shelter of animals lost, and even then check in every couple of days because things change from day to day."
Shelter Manager Colleen Morrice said the bylaw change needs to have an exemption for preexisting animals.
"There is no way any family will be willing to give up one of their pets if they own four," she said. "It would break not only that family but the animal itself. We have had dogs surrendered that passed away that very night of sadness. They knew they were given up. No way should an animal ever feel that abandonment."
"This year alone, I have had cats and kittens left in boxes outside the shelter in the elements that did not survive," she shared. "Dogs tied up to fences and our dumpster. One of those dogs gave birth the next day."
"There needs to be a clause stating animals in your possession will be grandfathered in."
Morrice added that she also has questions about all of their wonderful fosters who will be over the three-pet limit.
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