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DATE:  OCT 15, 2012


Policy Statement

This policy includes procedures and guidelines to coordinate the humane trapping, spaying or neutering and rehoming of stray and feral cats within the City of Owen Sound to improve the health and welfare of the urban stray and feral cat population through a volunteer-based initiative; thereby proactively addressing feral cat complaints and reducing health risk to the public.



For the purposes of this policy:

“City” means the Corporation of the City of Owen Sound.

“Feral Cat” means an undomesticated, male or female cat of any age that, in general, receives little human contact or care and lives outdoors or unconfined at all times.

“Feral Cat Rescue” or “FCR” means the community-based Feral Cat Rescue initiative operating in Owen Sound.

“OSAS” means the Owen Sound Animal Shelter.

“Rehome” means to permanently adopt a cat to a new home and owner to be a house pet, support animal, mouse control cat or similarly cared for or to join a managed Feral Cat colony outside City limits.

“Stray Cat” means a domestic male or female cat of any age, lost or abandoned by their owner, which lives outdoors or unconfined at all times.



1. The FCR shall establish procedures as required for the initiative and shall monitor and report on activities, issues and complaints quarterly to the OSAS. The FCR initiative and all personnel shall adhere to the provisions of this policy and FCR procedures at all times.

2. The FCR shall designate or remove the designation of persons as FCR personnel at their discretion except where the City determines that a person has violated provisions of this policy and may not participate in FCR activities. FCR personnel shall carry identification recognized by OSAS while involved in all FCR activities.

3. The City provides authority for FCR personnel to:

a. safely trap and remove Stray and Feral Cats on City property in and around the Sydenham River North of the Owen Sound Mill Dam,

b. to spay or neuter Stray and Feral Cats, and

c. to Rehome Stray and Feral Cats.

4. Concerned residents who are not designated FCR personnel may support the FCR initiative but shall not handle or feed Stray or Feral Cats; doing so is in violation of City by-laws.

5. FCR personnel may only feed Stray and Feral Cats for purposes related to trapping the cats. Stray and Feral Cats shall not be fed for other reasons or in locations not associated with trapping.

6. Only licensed, humane, live traps approved by the OSAS may be used for trapping Stray and Feral Cats. Once baited, FCR personnel shall not leave traps unattended.

7. Live traps containing cats are to be handled with care at all times to ensure cats experience minimal discomfort.

8. Cats which are captured are to be checked for identification as soon as safely possible.

a. In the event a cat is found with any identification (including a tattoo, microchip, collar or other identification), FCR personnel shall immediately notify the OSAS and the cat shall be released to the OSAS within 24 hours.

b. Where a Stray or Feral Cat is found without identification, FCR personnel shall provide OSAS with a description of the cat including the sex, breed, colour and age within 24 hours.

9. FCR personnel shall be responsible for making all arrangements for Stray and Feral Cats to be spayed or neutered and to receive other veterinarian recommended medical treatment. All expenses and responsibilities incurred with the FCR initiative, including medical costs, relocating responsibilities and the care of cats prior to Rehoming, shall be the sole responsibility FCR.

10. Stray and Feral Cats may be kept in the house or temporary shelter of FCR personnel for a period of up to two months while awaiting veterinary treatment or adoption or while being socialized for adoption provided that the cats:

a. Are well cared for and,

b. Do not create a nuisance to neighbouring residents.

11. When Rehoming Stray and Feral Cats the FCR initiative shall ensure that, upon adopting a cat, owners:

a. are made aware of pet ownership responsibilities and

b. sign a record indicating they will care for the cat in accordance with their responsibilities and applicable City by-laws.

12. The activities of the FCR must not conflict with and, where possible, should enhance the operations of the OSAS.

13. FCR Personnel shall follow all applicable City by-laws and Federal and Provincial legislation and regulations. At all times, the FCR initiative shall endeavor to address residents concerns regarding Stray and Feral Cats while safeguarding the health and welfare of Stray and Feral Cats in the City.

14. Nothing in this policy shall prevent an officer from enforcing provisions of By-law 2011-155, Being a By-law to Provide for the Registration, Regulation and Control of Cats within the City of Owen Sound.

15. Failure to abide by this policy may result in persons no longer being permitted to participate in FCR activities or the withdrawal of authority for the FCR initiative.