African cats may still be allowed in Maple Ridge

No guarantee though, staff working on options for bylaw wording

Kelly Allen hopes council amends the new bylaw to allow for domestic serval cats

Leopard-like cats originating out of Africa could be legal in Maple Ridge if staff likes the idea and can find the right words to add to the Animal Control Licencing Bylaw.

On Tuesday, council approved a motion allowing staff to see if ownership of serval cats can be legalized, while giving final approval to the new bylaw, which raises annual registration fees for owners of aggressive dogs.

Serval cat owners, though, may not want to get their hopes up.

After researching the topic, bylaws staff may recommend accommodating them in the bylaw. Serval cats originate out of central Africa, but have been bred in captivity as pets for several generations.

“Depending what [staff] may come back with, we may do what they asked, we may not,” said Mayor Ernie Daykin Wednesday.

“We’re going to look and we’re going to listen to them and we’re going to go from there.”

The motion included an order of non-enforcement against owners of serval cats, until the bylaw has been changed, so owners don’t have to worry about having their animals seized.

“What they’re saying is, they’re going to make it legal,” said Rick White, a Maple Ridge serval cat owner.

White said because the serval cat, about the size of a bobcat, isn’t the same animal as a house cat, different language must be found for the bylaw.

White was happy with council’s response, providing it’s followed through. “Until it’s actually put in law … it would make us happy.”

Allowing serval cats goes against the advice of the B.C. SPCA, which says there are enough domestic cats looking for homes. The SPCA also consider servals to be wild cats.

But White says domestic servals have been bred in captivity for generations and are proposing that third-generation, captive-born servals be allowed.

White takes his pet out and about regularly in public, including stores that allow pets.

“There have been no instances of these cats attacking people.

“People pet our cats. It’s not just my cat. It’s other people’s cats as well. They’re like a dog, very sociable.

“We feel confident that is a new breed of cat, the domestic serval, versus the wild serval.”

He says White Rock is first to include servals in with domestic cats. He estimates there are about 200 serval cats in B.C., with about seven of those in Maple Ridge.

Under the new Animal Control Bylaw, given final reading Tuesday, people with dogs deemed aggressive will have to pay $200 for a yearly licence, considerably more than that charged for a normal dog. The owner of a spayed or neutered dog only has to pay $25 a year if they renew before Jan. 31. Seniors over 65 also will get a 50-per-cent break, bringing it down to $12.50.

Just Posted

Golden Ears park gets 65 of 600 new provincial campsites

‘Walk-in sites are easily accessible for both motorists and cyclists.’

Smart Centres’ Albion flats lots up for sale

Future undecided for area where shopping was proposed

Mother bear, three cubs relocated from northeast Maple Ridge

Silver Valley residents calling for ‘no-kill’ zone.

Maple Ridge child victim centre receives thousands from feds

More than $250,000 will be given to Alisa’s Wish to help child victims of abuse

Ridge RCMP hand out ‘positive’ tickets

Think of Me campaign to warn drivers to slow down in school zones.

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Police investigate ‘serious collision’ between motorcycle, truck in Vancouver

Motorists asked to stay away from Blanca Street & West 4 Avenue

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around vessels

BC Ferries responded to 15 marine emergencies in 2018

VIDEO: Suspected arson sends five to Abbotsford hospital with smoke inhalation

Man seen throwing flammable substance in van, lighting it on fire next to home

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Most Read