B.C. House Cats Should Be Licenced, Group Says

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A B.C. coalition of more than 50 nature groups wants cat owners to leash their pets and wants the province’s municipalities to require licences for felines.

BC Nature president John Neville says other cities such as Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary require cats to be licensed.

"It's a slowly growing movement, that process so that the cats are under control and the diminishing wildlife is being protected,” Neville told CBC News.

A new study shows cats are responsible for many more animal deaths each year than previously believed, killing as many as 3.7 billion birds and up to 20 billion mammals in the U.S. alone.

Most of the cats responsible are strays, but according to the report, domestic felines are still responsible for billions of deaths.

Neville said he would like to see strict rules go along with the licensing.

"You would have to let it out either in a run, or take it out on a leash or keep it totally indoors.”

In May 2011, BC Nature forwarded a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, urging them to adopt mandatory cat licences.

“We brought it to the attention of the UBCM, we've written to municipalities around the province, we've drawn attention to the fact that other cities around Canada are now requiring licensing,” Neville said.

But Neville said as far as he knows, there are still no municipalities in the province that now have cat licensing bylaws.

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