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Halifax city council doles out cash to help control the feral cat population

says it will spend $5.5 million a year to toughen enforcement of animal welfare laws. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

HALIFAX — It’s estimated there are nearly a 100,000 feral cats in the HRM.

It’s a staggering number, that boils down to almost one cat for every person who lives on the peninsula.

After nearly a decade of talking about the problem — city council took the first step to control the overpopulation of cats. On Tuesday council gave $40,000 to the SPCA to spay and neuter cats.

“I’m happy. I’m flabbergasted. I can’t believe that it actually happened” said Hugh Chisholm.

Chisholm brought the issue of spaying and neutering felines in Halifax internationally last year, when his cat Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor.

He’s pleased with council’s decision to tackle the issue.

“I guess no matter how much is spent it will probably never be enough. I think this is a great start, how far it will go will depend upon how many cats come through the door” said Chisholm.

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Spryfield Councillor Steve Adams introduced the motion, and has been working to find a solution for the cat population for years.

“It’s been something I’ve been pursuing since 2007.  Most of the times, actually all of the times until today, it got sidetrack or derailed one way or the other” said Adams.

The money will be used to build infrastructure and preform the surgeries.

“We’re ready to go. We were waiting to hear from HRM so this is the best news we could have possibly had” said Kristin Williams, with the SPCA.

Williams says the spaying and neutering will not only availible for feral cats – but also for low income families.

“We anticipate that we’ll be able to do as many as 1,000 surgeries per year for these particular groups, in addition to about 2,000 surgeries per year for the SPCA. So that’s, you know, 3,000 surgeries that we’re adding of value to HRM and it could even be more with additional help from the community.”

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