Council seeks more powers to stop pet cats roaming and killing

No more roaming around kitty.

Susanna Freymark

Here kitty, kitty – here’s the thing – there are almost five million cats in Australia.

Research by the Invasive Species Council found that 70% of cat owners let their cats roam freely outdoors.

An average roaming cat kills 186 animals a year, 110 of them native animals.

Pet cats rarely bring their kills home. And pet cats kill half a million native animals a year.

Cats have driven 27 native animals to extinction since colonisation and they now threaten at least 124 more native species with extinction.

At the Kyogle Council meeting on Monday, September 11, there was a lot of discussion about cats.

Councillor Danielle Mulholland wanted council to write to the state government asking to amend the NSW Companion Animals Act to enforce anti-roaming laws for cats in Kyogle LGA.

This would require $9million to fund compliance, education, desexing, identification and registration programs for cats.

Councillor Robert Cullen wanted to add more to Ms Mulholland’s motion.

“Could council explore fining owners for unleashed cats as we do for dogs?” Mr Cullen asked.

Could rangers impound roaming cats – domestic and feral?

“People have to control their dogs and we need to do that to cats.”

Planning and environmental services director Chris White said if a cat is found and is not registered, it can be impounded.

“That is not a blanket approach,” he said, “we would have to change policy.”

“We don’t have the ability to fine residents for (roaming) cats.”

Mr White said the take-up of the council’s offer of free desexing of cats was low.

Councillor James Murray said, “If cats are unregistered – should they be euthanased at the pound?”

Mr Cullen’s comments were added to the motion.

Council can’t change its approach to feral or roaming cats until the State Government amends the Companion Animals Act and allows councils to work out the best approach for their regions.

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