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.

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