Spay-neuter program referred to 2015 budget talks

County_of_BrantKittens in Paris won’t be forcibly spayed or neutered by the county anytime soon.

Brant council’s corporate development has backed a staff report that recommends against granting a request from the citizens group Community Awareness Toward Strays to amend the animal control bylaw to enforce a spay-neuter regulation.

Instead, on an 8-1 vote, the matter will be referred to the county’s 2015 budget process. And staff will be directed to draw up a report on such control options as trap-neuter-return and subsidized spay-neuter clinics.

Council has heard often about a growing cat overpopulation problem in Paris.

CATS representative Roxie Moffat made a request for a bylaw amendment in a presentation at the June council meeting, which was referred to staff for a report.

The report offered excerpts from two reports – Managing Community Cats: A Guide for Municipal Leaders; and Cats in Canada: A Comprehensive Report on the Cat Overpopulation Crisis.

As a result of those reports, the staff said, “it would not be advisable to amend the bylaw at this point in time.”

Making the spaying/neutering of cats mandatory would be subject to challenge and would target owned cats, not stray cats, which are greater in number, the report warned.

The committee was informed that the SPCA has advised laws to regulate pet cats and their owners do not work to reduce community stray or feral cat populations because “community” cats do not have owners in the traditional sense.

The SPCA advises that money expended to implement a licensing program to track cat owners would be better spent on managed programs such as trap-neuter-return, the pets-for-life program supporting pet owners below the poverty line, and subsidized spay/neuter options.

Council wants to add to the number of advance voting days for the Oct. 27 municipal elections.

The corporate development committee has endorsed a recommendation from the clerk to provide the following four advance days: Sept. 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brant has historically held one advance vote on a Saturday. The extra days are recommended as an enhanced service to residents, to be held in conjunction with the October tax due date at each customer services office.

Voters can also vote by proxy on those dates if they can’t attend in person.

The committee also supported a recommendation to have reduced voting hours for some retirement and nursing homes. According to the plan, “roving” elections staff will attend the following institutions at a specified time on election day: Park Lane Terrace, Telfer Place extended care centre, Penmarvian Retirement Lodge and Queensview Retirement Community, all in Paris; and Hardy Terrace and Brucefield Manor in Mount Pleasant.

Final approval of the recommendations is expected at the Aug. 23 council meeting.

Candidates in the Brant municipal election will be told they can’t erect campaign signs on county property.

The corporate development committee has endorsed a recommendation from a clerk’s office report that municipal and school board election candidates be warned not to place election signs on road allowances where the county is the owner of the property whose frontage abuts the sight location.

The report says the prohibition is intended to “maintain the neutrality of the county during the 2014 election.”

A survey of 10 municipalities showed that the majority have bylaws that either explicitly prohibit signs on municipal property or limit them to not within 300 metres of “administrative facilities” but are silent on other municipally-owned properties.

Uxbridge allows one sign per candidate on municipal property.

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