Calgary wins Safe Cats Safe Birds Award for protective pet ownership program

It was an innovative approach to animal control: Calgary banned pets from roaming at large.

The move was designed to keep cats and dogs safe, but it also had the added bonus of saving the lives of birds. Now, Nature Canada has named the southern Alberta city as the inaugural winner of the Safe Cats Safe Birds Award.

“We are delighted to recognize the positive impacts the City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw has made,” Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada, said in a statement. “It is a model for other municipalities to follow.”

As the oldest national nature conservation charity in the country, Nature Canada urges pet owners to keep an eye on their cats if they go outdoors.

“Unsupervised outdoor cats are at considerable danger from collisions with cars, fights with wildlife, diseases and poisons and are responsible for an estimated 100 to 350 million bird deaths a year in Canada,” Fast said.

Nature Canada has given its inaugural Safe Cats, Safe Birds Award to the city of Calgary/Twitter

The Safe Cats Safe Birds Award is designed to raise the profile of Canadian municipalities, which are “stewards of their local environment,” and “make an important contribution to bird conservation by adopting animal control bylaws that specifically address and humanely control cats and their threat to birds.”

Municipal bylaws in Calgary require  cat and dog owners to license their pets, and to keep animals from roaming at large. It was one of the first, if not the first, cities in Canada to adopt such an approach.


The wife of former prime minister Stephen Harper, offered her congratulations. The couple fostered many cats while they lived at the official residence 24 Sussex Drive.

Laureen and Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada, and cat lovers/PMO

Renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood also lauded the winner — and initiative.

You can do your part, too.

Photos Nature Canada

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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