By Gerry Barker
January 22, 2018
We take you now to the weekly meeting of the city Bylaw Enforcement officers. The Chief BLEO tells the assembled officer that council has passed a cat licence bylaw in which owners are required to pay an annual fee of $25 per cat
“Dogs are licensed,” the Chief, said, “why not cats?”
A voice in the back row said: “What’s next? We tax Goldfish, Gerbils, Hamsters and pet Anacondas and their lunch, Pigs? But what about taxing Lizards, Roosters and Monkeys?
“Smithers, we’ll have none of that talk. For that smart comment, you will join the new pussy patrol.”
A giggle developed in the room as the officers tried not to laugh out loud.
An officer asked if any members of council owned a cat. “Good Heavens,” bellowed the Chief BLEO. “Our job is to enforce the laws of the city even if it means knocking on every door to detect a household mouser.”
A collective sigh ensued as one officer said: ‘There goes the neighbourhood.”
The Chief went on to explain that a secret CAT-Fink would be set up to develop tips on who and where there are household felines. CAT-tipsters would be rewarded with a free b of cat litter. “You know, that stuff is useful in winter when you’re stuck and the tires are just spinning,” the Chief BLEO said.
“You have to spot the tell-tale cat track in the snow to hunt these unlicensed cats down and nail the owners, “ the Chief added.
“So men, get out there and find those cats and tell the owners they must license them.”
With that the Chief started for the door when an officer spoke up: “Ah, Chief, don’t you think we should start first by licensing bicyclists using city streets? They don’t pay to use the roads and bike lanes. Besides they are easier to catch.”
A second officer spoke up: “My grandpa owns a cat she just had six kittens. Does this mean he is entitled to a cat discount or does he have to pay for seven cats?”
“If the owner has more than one cat, they have to pay the $25 each year for every cat that’s alive,” the Chief BLEO reploed..
“I guess we should also check the obituaries for any cat departures and the vets in town for tipping us off on the owners of the cats, right, chief?”
The other side of the story
I witnessed a secret enclave of Guelph liberated cats (allowed to go outside to meet friends and relieve themselves).
Our neighbourhood cat, Tuxedo, spoke of the need to hide when the bylaw officer is in the neighbourhood. This would also include hiding any evidence of a cat in the house plus cat food, litter boxes and catnip balls.
“This is now man against cats, said the Tuxster. Remember we can run faster, hide in better places and laugh at this dumb bylaw,” said Tuxedo to the cat convention located in an undisclosed location.
Of course, Tuxedo belongs to the neighbourhood so proving which resident is responsible will be the trial of the Century. Besides in our neighbourhood we rarely see any city employees. We pay for waste removal, snow plowing, infrastructure maintenance, even flushing out the fire hydrants and maintaining the water and sewage pipes plus the lane and road repairs.
After many years, we have become independent of the city but must pay for all the services we don’t receive. We pay $235 a month condo fee for all self-financed services include grass cutting and trimming. Our taxes cost about $685 a month.
And now council is taxing us for owning a cat?
Is this what Mayor Guthrie was referring to when he promised, during his 2014 election campaign, a Better Guelph?
City Council decided, let’s tax the cats and watch the fur fly. Sounds like a plan.