New laws planned on cat problem
New laws planned on cat problem

The State Government will today announce a $3.2 million push for WA cat owners to snip, chip and tag their moggies by November next year or risk having their pets "jailed" in new cat pounds.

Local Government Minister John Castrilli is expected to announce plans today to phase in WA's new cat laws that stipulate cat owners must microchip, sterilise and register their animals with local councils.

Mr Castrilli said $3.2 million would be available to help low income earners and pensioners meet the cost of sterilising their animals as well as help local governments enforce the laws, to be phased in from November.

"One of the reasons we developed the act was to encourage responsible cat ownership and stop stray cats from having to be put down," he said.

"Over 5000 a year have to be euthanised. Subsidies will be available for pensioners and other health care cardholders to assist with the cost of sterilisation.

"The Department of Local Government will be working with veterinarians and other stakeholders over the next six months on the best way to provide this assistance."

Local councils will have to keep a register of cats - as they do for dogs - and rangers will enforce the new laws.

Mr Castrilli said penalties and the cost of registering a cat were yet to be determined.

Part of the $3.2 million funding would help local councils with the cost of microchip scanners, cat traps, vehicle fit-outs and ranger training.

It's understood funding will also be made available to local councils or animal organisations to build up to six new cat pounds in Perth and the South West.

The WA Local Government Association has supported the introduction of Statewide cat control legislation because it says it will reduce the impact of unwanted cats.

It's understood WALGA is seeking funding to help ease the cost to local councils of implementing the new laws.

The Cat Haven said it had been pushing for mandatory cat sterilisation for more than 40 years.

Cat Haven co-ordinator Freedom Bradbury said some vet clinics charged more than $300 for sterilisation and chipping but the haven offered a reduced rate to encourage people to neuter their cats.

"As an organisation, we support this," she said.

The West Australian

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