Claws are out for new a cat bylaw
While Woodville Districts Visions is pleased with the Tararua District Council’s new cat bylaw, they want it to have more teeth.
“We’re applauding the council, but we’d encourage them to also consider microchipping, desexing and further regulating domestic ownership of cats in our towns,” WDV chairwoman Robin Winter said. She’d like to see a programme similar to
Pu¯ kaha Mt Bruce to deal with unwanted cats.
“Many wild and feral cats are trapped and euthanased on a regular basis at Pu¯ kaha Mt Bruce to protect the wildlife,” she said. “This is just the same for the wild birds and lizards in our community. Desexing such cats, which is the SPCA’s answer to the issue, doesn’t remove the threat to our wildlife.”
The council has included controls for those who own more than three cats where complaints are received, or if they are offensive to a neighbouring property, a threat to public health,endanger neighbouring animals, or if they may become a nuisance.
“The major issue is around the health of cats and if the size of a property is small for the number of cats then they tend to migrate more than normal,” Peter Wimsett, council’s manager of strategy and district development, said. “Cats do wander and that doesn’t make them a nuisance. But microchipping would add a great deal of cost.”
In 2015, a trapping and culling programme was put in place by WDV after an invasion of strays. However, within weeks a halt was called as volunteers became the target of abuse.
District councillor Peter Johns, who lives in Woodville, insisted the council “stop mucking around” and bring in a bylaw. Norsewood cat lover Lyn McConchie said council’s bylaw is fair, but believes there should be a variance for breeders or temporary rescue shelters, if neighbours agree.
Mr Wimsett said it had taken council two years to get its bylaw in place.
“Bylaws are difficult to introduce for councils trying to control cats, as owners aren’t registered. There’s also the definition of stray cats which have no home and wandering cats who are just doing what cats do. Cats are important to people and controlling stray and feral cats is the key.” There are also legal obligations when trapping cats to find the legal owner.
Robin Winter, Woodville Districts Vision chairwoman, is asking Tararua district Council to strengthen its recently introduced cat bylaw.