VICTORIA -- Cat owners in a Victoria neighbourhood are being warned to keep a close eye on their pets and make sure they don’t go onto other people’s property.

Victoria Animal Control Services Ltd. received a complaint from a resident of Simcoe Street that multiple cats have been visiting their property and urinating and defecating.

“It’s an animal trespass, doesn’t matter if it's a dog, or a cat, or a gerbil. If it’s your pet you have a responsibility to confine your animal to your own property,” said animal control services senior officer Ian Fraser.

Officers are not proactively enforcing these regulations, but once a complaint is made a letter will be sent to the neighbourhood asking the owners to follow the bylaw.

“We only trap cats (if) after the cat letter the problem still persists,” Fraser said. “That’s when, if we don’t know who owns the cat, we will set a trap and catch the offending cat.”

Once the cat is trapped, animal control officers will try to find the owner. A $150 ticket can be issued, or the cat will be impounded and the owner will have to cover this cost.

According to the City of Victoria’s Animal Responsibility Bylaw, an animal that is on any private lands or premises without the consent of the occupier or owner of the lands or premises – or an animal that is on unfenced land and not securely tethered or contained – can be seized by animal control. 

“It’s definitely offensive to deal with cat urine and cat feces in your vegetable garden,” Fraser said. “It’s animal behaviour, but unfortunately when it involves killing birds at a bird bath, that’s what causes some folks to make our phones ring.”

According to Fraser, the person who complained has five cats visiting their property.

No traps have been set up, and Fraser hopes the pet owners follow the rules and keep their animals off their neighbour's property.