Working with statistics, it’s likely the City of Grand Forks holds a cat population of 720 animals (excluding the feral) and a dog population of some 660 animals, registered or not.
If every doggie’s doo-doo is found and bagged every day, it means 240,900 plastic bags in the landfill each year.
Cats produce an average 36 gm of feces per day and dogs 380 gm per day, the total amount of cat and dog raw sewage produced in Grand Forks per annum is in excess of 100 tonnes, a lot of which is dumped, untreated, at the landfill.
A lot of it doesn’t make it to the dump; cats bury theirs in the neighbours’ gardens, some dog owners walk right by their dogs’ droppings and more of it just doesn’t make itself apparent until you spread a picnic blanket.
Figures from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute reveal cats with access to the outdoors each kill between 30 and 47 wild birds every year.
If we assume all local cats have outdoor access, it means between 2,160 and 3,384 birds are being killed each year!
Far from exhorting city council to get on with the business of facilitating boarding and breeding kennels, as expounded by Nigel James in the July 31 Gazette, city will do a better job by treading cautiously.
As in all things, there is more to this than meets the eye.
There is almost always a dog to be heard yapping; yes, there are dangerous breeds; there are loose dogs about; sidewalks are befouled; cats roam freely; cats kill birds.
I would ask city to arm itself with rock-solid bylaws, proceed with an educational/information exercise and then really go after the owners who don’t play along.
Because of the burdens imposed by cats and dogs, both species should be licensed and fees set higher – say, five times higher – than they are now. Owners must bear the costs.
And, in case readers are interested in this sort of stuff, Canadian households spent $6.3 billion on pets in 2012 against $5.5 billion on child care.
Dave Milton, Grand Forks