Cat crackdown

RULES limiting the number of cats local residents can own – and making micro-chipping and registration mandatory – may soon be enforced under Gawler Council’s plans to introduce a cat by-law.

Gawler councillors voted to prepare a draft cat by-law at last week’s Infrastructure & Environmental Services committee meeting.

Under the proposed changes, which were previously suggested in council’s Animal Management Plan 2014-2017, the number of felines in any household could be limited to two, while registration and micro-chipping may be compulsory for cats aged over three months.

Cat by-law fees means it could cost cat owners $80 to microchip, or $30 to micro-chip and desex, their felines.

In a report titled ‘Cat By-law’, environment and regulatory services team leader Jack Darzanos said the new policy would help manage cats in the area, and minimise their impact on the local wildlife.

“If the introduction of a cat by-law is given consideration, following a consultation period, the aim of the by-law should be to limit the number of cats that can be kept on premises, and to provide for the control and management of cats within the council area,” Mr Darzanos said.

“There is an increasing awareness of the roles of cats in society, and the benefits and pitfalls they provide, particularly in relation to the environment.

“As pets, cats are wonderful companion animals, however they are also very efficient predators of our native wildlife.”

Gawler East resident Cindy Jewis, who owns four Burmese cats, supported responsible ownership, including vaccinations, microchipping and a curfew, but was opposed to putting restrictions on the number of cats one can own.

“I’d be devastated if someone said to me I could only have two cats, because they are my family; cats have always been part of my life,” she said.

“I can understand if they crack down on those people who have more than four, but two is a little bit harsh.

“I believe a cat curfew is absolutely necessary because at night is when the damage is done, as they are nocturnal beasts.

“Cat registration seems like the another money-grab from council; it’s another cost which I can’t afford, because my veterinary bills are already expensive enough.”

Mr Darzanos said council is committed to encouraging responsible cat ownership, and working with owners and their neighbours to amicably resolve issues that may arise.

“Provisions covering registration, micro-chipping and limiting the number of cats – subject to conditions, registration fees, penalties and compliance requirements of a notice issued – would be a component of the by-law,” he said.

Laura Tilley

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Laura Tilley joined The Bunyip team after completing her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia and working at sister newspaper The Murray Pioneer, Renmark, recently. Laura undertook a student exchange to the UK, where she studied journalism courses at the University of Worcester. She completed several stints across different media outlets where she found her passion for journalism.

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