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Yes, you read that right.
Ñirka has some explaining to do.
Ramon Correa’s cat Ñirka was caught twice in his neighbour’s yard while Correa was away on vacation. When he returned, he got a knock on the door: a bylaw officer, who issued him a fine for trespassing.
Correa was outraged. "I said, ‘Get out of here? Are you serious?’"
She was, and the $150 fine is too.
The offence under the animal control bylaw, "Animals on private property," applies to any animal on private lands without consent of the person living there. (Bees are exempt.)
Ian Fraser, senior animal control officer for the City of Victoria, said the bylaw is rarely applied—"It might be 10 a year, if it’s even that many," he said—but when there are complaints and an owner ignores a warning, they issue the fine.
"We don’t go looking for stray cats," he said.
Ñirka was caught stalking his neighbour’s chickens, which is not necessary for the bylaw to take effect, but is part of a much bigger issue: outdoor and feral cats are responsible for the deaths of as many as 350 million birds in Canada each year. Some research has shown rainbow collars can be effective in scaring birds away and making cats less efficient hunters, but the instinct to hunt is still there. The only 100% effective protection for birds is to keep them indoors—something Correa absolutely opposes.
"I got that cat out of a barn, I’m not going to do that to the cat," he says. He understands the risk to wildlife, but says there’s a balance to be struck between the welfare of pets and that of wildlife. "If you can’t have a cat running free—or any animal—then don’t have animals."