Strays are still a concern in Laval

No limit to number of cats you can keep

By Geneviève April

Anyone who has put a trash bag by the curb in Laval can confirm that the city has a problem with stray animals, mainly cats. Cats reproduce at an alarmingly fast rate, are resilient. Since they’re usually considered more of a nuisance than a threat, citizens rarely reported strays to animal control.

Not only does the trash provide a large amount of their food supply, but many well-meaning animal lovers also furnish them with food and basic shelter, encouraging the establishment and enlargement of permanent feral cat colonies.

“Municipal policy allows for feeding stray and wild animals, so long as it poses no risk the public or individual health or to property,” explained Laval spokeswoman Nadine Lussier. “Although animal lovers might disagree, experts point out that it is not a practice that should be encouraged, as it does no service to the feral cats in the long run.”

In fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that “the best thing you can do for the feral cats in your neighborhood is vaccinate them, prevent them from reproducing and then leave them where they are.”

Laval has a strong set of rules for dog owners to follow. Among the rules: You can’t own more than two dogs, each dog must have its city-issued license renewed each year, you have to to pick up after the animal, and dogs must always be kept on a leash.

No corresponding rules exist for cats. Laval sets no limit on the number cats one owner can keep. No license is needed and there’s no obligation for owners to keep their cat leashed on have them spayed or neutered.

The city doesn’t provide sterilization clinics for pets and does not have a trap-neuter-release policy for feral cats.

“We conduct a lot awareness campaigns and hold adoption and microchip clinics,” added Lussier. “We are also considering other approaches and are consulting with experts to fully explore the situation and identify alternatives.”

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