Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, presented their inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award to the City of Calgary for its progressive municipal policy that keeps cats safe and saves bird lives.
“Our Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives national campaign asks Canadian cat owners to join a growing movement of people who keep their cats supervised if they go outdoors. Unsupervised outdoor cats are at considerable danger from collisions with cars, fights with wildlife, diseases and poisons and are responsible for an estimated 100 to 350 million bird deaths a year in Canada,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada.
“The City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw is a model for other municipalities to follow.”
The Calgary bylaw requires both cat and dog owners to license their pets, and to keep animals from roaming at large.
The bylaw is an important factor in Calgary’s success, but the strong public education campaign, the ‘I Heart My Pet’ rewards program and the promise to return licensed pets are motivation for pet owners, earning Calgary the highest compliance rates in the country.
“It is an honour for The City of Calgary to receive Nature Canada’s inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award,” said Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary.
“Our approach focuses on accessible service and education that encourages responsible and accountable pet ownership. The result is a safe and healthy community for pets, and I’m proud of the work done by my colleagues at The City of Calgary to achieve this.”
The conflict between cat lovers and bird fanciers is a long one with deeply entrenched and very opposing views.
Like Nature Canada, organizations like the University of Guelph, by conducting surveys and research around the issue of cat population and protecting the birds, are trying to find ways for the groups to work together.
“The hope is that we can bring together cat supporters and bird advocates to take actions to improve cat welfare and reduce the effect of outdoor cats on birds,” Tyler Flockhart, a Liber Ero post-doctoral researcher at U of G, said.