Councillors propose national cat rules
Councils around the country are looking to band together to rein in roaming moggies.
Dunedin City Council has suggested its colleagues help it push the Government for national rules that could include cat rangers and shutting cats in overnight.
Seven other councils around the country, including Auckland Council, support the idea ahead of a vote at the Local Government New Zealand annual meeting this month.
An Auckland Council spokeswoman said it was yet to reach a formal position on a remit to develop national legislation to manage cats and protect wildlife through increased regulatory powers for councils.
‘‘The council is currently on the list of councils that supports the remit, however that was based on initial discussions between staff and may not reflect the final position that is taken to the LGNZ annual meeting later this month.’’
Hamilton City councillors discussed the issue and were keen on rules for felines, but there were some dissenters at the table.
Cat control would mean a significant increase in animalcontrol staff, Hamilton City Safe manager Kelvin Powell said.
‘‘In essence, it’s talking about replicating something alike to the Dog Control Act, but for cats. We have 11,500 dogs in Hamilton and we have six dog-control officers who are responsible for that,’’ he said.
‘‘We would presumably have more cats in Hamilton than we have dogs.’’
Money from dog registrations covered about 65 per cent animal-control costs, he said.
Dunedin City Council suggested in its remit that councils should be allowed to recover the cost of managing cats.
It suggested measures include putting cats in collars with a bell, microchipping, desexing, and the of creation of cat rangers.
In Hamilton, animal-lover councillor Mark Bunting said cat legislation would be good.
He recounted how he recently took in two ‘‘pretty crook’’ kittens which had been dumped.
‘‘As our ageing population grows, so does the number of old ladies with cats, so [cat management] is something that we’re going to have to deal with,’’ he said.
Councillor James Casson leaned on environmental arguments, citing Forest and Bird estimates that cats kill 1.12 million native birds a year.