City animal shelter staff concerned over percentage of impounded cats not returned home
From January through August 2018, The City has impounded 1167 stray or lost cats and kittens on Calgary streets. Only 34% of these cats were reunited with their owners. These numbers are concerning for animal services staff, especially when compared with the statistics for dogs. 1254 dogs were impounded during the same timeframe and 84% of those were reunited with their families.
“We’re seeing way too many cats come into the shelter, and not enough of them are making it back home. We’re unable to find many of the owners because the cats are unlicensed and do not have a microchip,” says Patti Smadis, customer service representative at Animal Services. “Sometimes people don’t think they need to license their indoor cats, but the reality is that mistakes happen and cats do get out. It helps to think of a licence as your pet’s ticket home.”
From January to August 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, the number of cats brought into the shelter this year has almost doubled. When a dog or cat is picked up wearing its City of Calgary licence tag, community peace officers will attempt to drive the animal home before it enters the shelter. If the owner isn’t at home, the officer will leave a notice to contact the shelter to retrieve their pet.
Under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, if an animal is wearing identification it will be held for 10 days. Without identification, it’s only held for 4 days before it becomes eligible for adoption. Owners who haven’t licensed their pet run the risk of their dog or cat being adopted out to another home.
City bylaw requires both cats and dogs to be licensed after three months of age, and noncompliance can result in a $250 fine. Microchipping is also highly recommended.
Calgarians can find helpful information about responsible pet ownership at calgary.ca/animalservices .
If you have lost a pet, you should call 3-1-1 to report them missing and visit the website for pictures of found animals at the shelter.