Feline registration in Winnipeg is finally a reality, as city council has approved a long-discussed plan to license cats.
Council voted Wednesday afternoon to approve a new package of pet regulations that includes a $15 annual licence fee for spayed and neutered cats and a $50 annual fee for intact cats.
The new regulations also effectively ban exotic circus animals and restrict the number of exotic species Winnipeggers can keep as pets, including many reptiles. Existing pets will be grandfathered.
The regulations do not make allowances for backyard poultry farming, outside of city lands zoned for agricultural use. Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) attempted but failed to amend the rules to allow home-schooled children to raise chickens as an educational pursuit.
Council split the vote into two components. Cat licensing was approved 12-4, while the rest of the regulations were approved unanimously.
Other significant items on today's agenda include a new labour deal for city middle managers, a downtown lane closing that will clear the way for a new hotel tower near Portage and Main and a $7.8-million package for downtown residential improvements.
In recent years, the July meeting has tended to be the longest and wildest of the year, with contentious issues requiring hours of debate, such as the Parker land swap (2009), the once-planned dissolution of Winnipeg's water and waste department (2009), the reduction of mosquito-fogging buffer zones (2010), additional spending on the city's new police headquarters (2011) and the potential lease of golf courses (2012).
This summer, Mayor Sam Katz's office worked with senior city staff to ensure contentious reports, especially on property matters, made it to council earlier in the year or could be held until September, when council committee meetings resume.
But there will be some debate at today's meeting -- not all of it involving cats, chickens and reptiles.
Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck alone plans to introduce three motions: one to offer police free parking at their new headquarters, a second to increase the number of police officers in schools in 2014 and a third to apply new city rules on council spending to the mayor's office.