Claws out over new cat laws

MITCHELL WOODCOCK
Claws out over new cat laws

Dardanup Shire Council has reassured residents it would not be unreasonable with its enforcement of cat control laws, following a public outcry.

The council approved the advertisement of the Shire of Dardanup Keeping and Control of Cats Local Law 2014 at last week’s meeting, which will bring stricter monitoring by council rangers.

Under the proposed law, cats older than six months will need to be registered with the council, micro chipped, sterilised and tagged.

Other amendments include cats found to be not controlled will be caught by rangers and their owners fined, as well as approval will be needed for more than three cats.

About a dozen residents attended last week’s meeting and the council received 25 submissions from residents concerned about the impact of the local law.

They fear the fines are unreasonable and it is not always possible to control outside domestic cats.

Dardanup shire chief executive officer Mark Chester said the council was responding to the State Government’s Cat Act, which was passed last year.

“Rather than be suspicious or concerned about something that hasn’t happened yet they (residents) have to give us a chance to work on the local law’s management, ” he said.

“Then if it doesn’t work they can come and ask the council to reconsider the local law.

“Council has to take in all the community and people who don’t want cats on their property have that right.”

Residents were also concerned about the rehoming and fostering of cats, with a number of homes in the shire housing more than three cats before they found new owners.

Mr Chester said council specifically adopted a policy which would allow residents to own four cats with the approval of its officers.

Benotto Animal Management manager Claire Gick said she was disappointed with the outcome.

“The Cat Act 2011 deliberately left out roaming clauses and left it up to local governments to add these clauses if their community wanted them, ” he said.

“I believe that clearly the shire’s community did not support it in the time they had to make comment.

“The Cat Act was careful to not encourage local governments to insist that cats must be kept indoors, however now with this law this is effectively what the Dardanup Shire Council has done.”

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