Mount Barker council in Adelaide, Australia, says it will curb “delinquent” behaviour by the region’s cats and they need to stop roaming the streets by night.
The council has vowed to crack down on the “nuisance behaviour” of local cats, passing new regulations to limit the number of felines per property and forcing owners to keep their pets inside at night.
So, residents of Mount Barker will face penalties if their cats are found roaming the streets at night after the local council passed tough new regulations.
The new by-laws will see a limit of two cats per property introduced, as well as a real feline curfew between 8pm and 7am. There will be penalties for cats caught outside of curfew, and potentially covert surveillance of suspected nuisance cats.
The mayor, Ann Ferguson, said this was the result of an “outcry” from the community about the behaviour of local cats.
She said that 68% of people supported the limit of two cats per property, 71% supported a curfew and 73% supported the council addressing “cat behaviour”.
Asked what constituted nuisance behaviour by a cat, Ferguson said cats defecating on people’s lawns (???), cats spraying on people’s front doors and cats fighting in the garden and also killing wildlife.
Ferguson also made clear that – as a “cat lover” herself – the new rules are not aimed at vilifying the animal, adding: “There are more people out there who love cats and tolerate cats (than hate them)”
The mayor said they were ‘still working through the details’ of what the penalties will be for owners whose cats break the curfew rules – although the council is considering conducting covert surveillance on cats suspected to be breaking curfew.
Mount Barker is the latest Adelaide council to propose or introduce tough new cat regulations.
In Adelaide Hills, it will be compulsory for cats to be confined to their owner’s home from 2022. Gawler council has proposed by-laws that will give it the power to “seize, detain and destroy” any cat caught roaming within its boundaries if the animal is not claimed by an owner within three days.
Marion council is considering introducing a cat curfew between 9pm and 7am, and to enforce the curfew, it has proposed supplying cages to residents in order to seize cats caught out after curfew.
These rules are in part a result of a fear about the negative impact cats have on native wildlife, in fact, it has been estimated cats kill as many as a million birds a day in Australia.
Paul Stevenson, the head of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in South Australia, said the organisation received 10,000 stray cats a year because there were no mandatory cat management guidelines for councils.
He said that in general they support councils introducing measures like curfews and their only concern with the Mount Barker measures is the practice of hiring out cat traps.
“Most of the people who use traps don’t particularly like cats and there are huge problems with that,” he said. “Some of the cruelty and suffering inflicted on cats through the use of traps is quite horrendous and I’d just say one of the things we have to be very careful of all round Australia is to not to demonise and vilify cats.”
Source: The Guardian. Photos: the Guardian, pixabay