Cat re­forms to pro­tect wildlife

Monthly Chronicle - - News -

Im­proved pro­tec­tion for wildlife, fewer feral cats roam­ing the bush and streets and bet­ter con­trols for the Coun­cil’s An­i­mal Con­trol Depart­ment are tar­gets set by Hornsby Coun­cil fol­low­ing years of feral cats episodes.

Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously to give the go-ahead to Coun­cil­lor Nathan Til­bury’s raft of mea­sures in­clud­ing sub­si­dis­ing de-sex­ing and mi­crochip­ping do­mes­tic cats and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple liv­ing close to wildlife pro­tec­tion ar­eas on the im­por­tance of re­spon­si­ble cat own­er­ship.

Stream­lin­ing the an­i­mal reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem to make it eas­ier to reg­is­ter pets and im­ple­ment­ing an ed­u­ca­tion strat­egy de­tail­ing the ben­e­fits of cat mi­crochip­ping, reg­is­tra­tion, de-sex­ing and con­tain­ment are also amongt the list of pro­pos­als.

Most con­tro­ver­sial though is Coun­cil writ­ing to the state gov­ern­ment ask­ing its per­mis­sion to en­force cats stay­ing in their own back­yards, 24 hours a day.

“The mea­sures will mean im­proved pro­tec­tion for both na­tive wildlife in the Bush­land Shire and for pet cats,” he said. “We also want to make it eas­ier for Hornsby Shire res­i­dents to reg­is­ter, de-sex and mi­crochip their pet cats, and to give Hornsby Coun­cil's An­i­mal Con­trol depart­ment more re­sources and ac­cess to best prac­tice.

“The aim is to re­duce the alarm­ing num­ber of feral and stray cats in our Shire by not only tak­ing feral cats out but also stop­ping more cats go­ing into the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Hornsby is also writ­ing to the state gov­ern­ment ask­ing for per­mis­sion to in­tro­duce laws mak­ing it com­pul­sory to keep do­mes­tic cats within the con­fines of own­ers’ back­yards 24 hours a day. It needs their agree­ment to re­form the Hornsby LGA un­der the NSW An­i­mals Com­pan­ion Act.

“I have seen own­ers in­stall cat en­clo­sures for about $400 which keeps them in and gives them space to roam around,” he added. “Or the Cat Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety rec­om­mends a de­vice which goes on top of the fence to stop the cat jump­ing over it.”

Reg­is­tra­tion is a big is­sue. Suther­land Shire Coun­cil has the high­est rate of reg­is­tra­tion in the state, at­trib­uted in part to cat own­ers re­ceiv­ing per­sis­tent texts and fol­low-up fines if they fail to reg­is­ter their do­mes­tic cat.

A re­port is ex­pected to go back be­fore Coun­cil in Oc­to­ber with the state gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse as well as a plan on im­ple­ment­ing the mea­sures.

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