Ferret shelter fears city’s proposed pet limit

An animal shelter fears its network of foster homes could be threatened if a proposed change to Winnipeg’s municipal pet ownership bylaw is approved.

Deb Kelley, shelter coordinator at the Manitoba Ferret Association No Kill Shelter, said a proposed new limit whereby each household in Winnipeg is entitled to a maximum of five ferrets would not support the shelter’s model of care. The shelter relies on several foster homes, ensuring that all already own ferrets and are qualified to properly care for them.

As a result, many of those homes already hold up to six ferrets, before they temporarily house more, she said.

“We’re here for every ferret in need, whether old, young, sick or healthy. If the bylaw is passed where each household can only have five ferrets, it would devastate our foster home space. “said Kelley.

The city confirmed on Tuesday that it will exempt major animal shelters from all pet number caps and consider the call to extend it to related foster homes.

But Kelley said she would remain concerned about the capacity of her organization until there is a guarantee that all foster placement sites are exempt as well.

“It’s always a big concern to me, that they put a limit on (the number of pets). Saying that you will consider (a change) doesn’t mean that you approve of it,” a- she declared.

Since any change to the responsible animal ownership bylaw is of great importance to animal owners and animal service providers, the city is seeking as much public comment as possible before a proposal is made. final to be considered for approval by city council, said Leland Gordon, general manager of Winnipeg’s Animal Services Agency.

“We need to hear this (feedback) as it will be further refined and modified… We will definitely seek…

The proposed limit of five pets per household would also apply to birds and several types of “exotic animals”.

And the potential changes could create a reduced number of species that can be kept as pets within city limits.

The Manitoba Canary and Finch Club has launched an online petition against several of the changes, which it says would also ban ownership of almost all parrot species and significantly limit the types of finch and canary species that can be kept as pets.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the petition had collected nearly 2,000 signatures.

A club member said the proposed bird limits would prevent access to the pets that many Winnipeggers cherish as family members.

“A lot of people can’t have dogs or cats because of allergies and a lot of people have amazing relationships with their birds. The majority are not kept in small cages, they are with family and interact,” said Melanie Fraser.

Fraser said nine Senegalese lovebirds and two Senegalese parrots live in his home, which the new owners would not be allowed if the changes were approved.

If a currently licensed species is banned, those who already own such animals would be allowed to keep them, the city confirmed.

And Gordon said any ideas being considered, including limits on the number of pets living in each home, should better protect pets and prevent animal build-up.

“It’s about having a reasonable amount of animals so that someone is providing proactive veterinary care for all of those animals,” Gordon said.

He said the proposed changes followed consultations with the Winnipeg Humane Society and other animal welfare authorities.

The proposals on whether specific animal species should be allowed as pets are based on how each animal lives in nature and how being kept as a pet would affect it, he added.

“It basically comes down to the quality of life of the animal in captivity,” Gordon said.

He also described the list of pets allowed as a “starting point” for the discussion, which the city will revise after considering all comments from the public.

To influence the proposed changes to the Responsible Pet Ownership By-law, Winnipeggers can email RPObylaw@winnipeg.ca

The City expects the latest by-law changes to be implemented early next year.

– with files from Gabrielle Piché


Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne enjoys telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a City Hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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