Coun­cil’s plan to cut cat pop­u­la­tion

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

Own­ers of frisky fe­lines in Marl­bor­ough are be­ing given a cut price deal to help keep their amorous pets un­der con­trol in a bid to curb the re­gion’s boom­ing cat pop­u­la­tion.

The Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil has pledged $7500 to fund a re­duced-cost cat de­sex­ing and mi­crochip­ping ini­tia­tive.

The bar­gain buy is valid for two weeks and open to own­ers with a com­mu­nity ser­vice card.

It fol­lows a move by the coun­cil to seek more pow­ers to help en­cour­age re­spon­si­ble pet own­ers. Con­cu­pis­cent cats can be fixed for just $50, which is about $100 be­low the usual cost.

The ser­vice will only be avail­able for the first two weeks of Au­gust and spa­ces are lim­ited for the pro­ce­dures which will be car­ried out at Spring­lands Vet­eri­nary Cen­tre in Blen­heim.

A coun­cil spokes­woman says the ini­tia­tive will be run through An­i­mal Con­trol, with help from SPCA Marl­bor­ough.

Marl­bor­ough Mayor John Leggett and coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Wheeler were among 600 coun­cil of­fi­cials at a Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand (LGNZ) con­fer­ence in Auck­land last month.

Backed by coun­cil col­leagues, the mayor voted in favour of a proposal by Dunedin City Coun­cil call­ing for LGNZ to lobby the gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment the fi­nal ver­sion of the Na­tional Cat Man­age­ment Strat­egy.

The re­mit passed by just 51 per cent and could see coun­cils around the coun­try band to­gether to rein in roam­ing cats.

Coun­cil an­i­mal con­trol sub­com­mit­tee chair­man Jamie Ar­buckle says the is­sue is a ‘‘con­tentious one’’. ’’It is a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject but no mat­ter which side you talk to, both will agree that work needs to be done around de­sex­ing and ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘This is the one thing we can all work round, it’s not dis­puted by those for or against con­trol.

‘‘Cat con­trol is on our radar and we’re very much aware of the sit­u­a­tion. It’s an is­sue we’ve al­ready ear­marked in our 10-year plan that will need more fund­ing,’’ he says.

Coun­cils across the coun­try are tasked with try­ing to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble cat own­er­ship and re­duce their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact on wildlife but their pow­ers are lim­ited to de­stroy­ing feral cats as pests.

New wildlife pro­tec­tion pow­ers could in­clude reg­u­la­tory pow­ers for cat con­trol, in­clud­ing cat iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, cat de­sex­ing and re­spon­si­ble cat own­er­ship.

Cat own­ers must hold a com­mu­nity ser­vices card and have photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to be eli­gi­ble for the of­fer. For full terms and con­di­tions and to see if you are eli­gi­ble, please call SPCA Marl­bor­ough on 03 572 9156.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Ed­u­cat­ing cat own­ers about be­ing re­spon­si­ble own­ers is part of keep­ing the fe­line pop­u­la­tion un­der con­trol, says coun­cil­lor Jamie Ar­buckle, with his cat Bossa Nova.

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