Australian Council Wants To Force Owners To Put Their Cat On A Leash When They're Outside
While it's a very common thing to see dogs on a leash as they're walked by their owners, it's far less regular to witness a cat being taken out for a stroll with one.
But it could soon be much more common in a South Australian council if proposed bylaws get approved.
The Campbelltown Council in Adelaide's north-west has submitted plans to require cat owners to have a leash with a minimum length of two metres attached to the feline whenever they step outdoors.
It's hoped the law will stop the feral cat population from climbing in the area.
Cats Assistance to Sterilise spokesperson Dr Suzanne Pope told a council meeting that desexing felines had dropped to its lowest level in 30 years after the introduction of mandatory microchipping.
"Cat numbers have dramatically increased with the RSPCA reporting a 35 percent increase in felines at its shelters in the last two years," she said.
"Cat adoption groups are overflowing with felines and CATS estimates there has been a 50 percent increase in undesexed cats and kittens in the community."
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Cat owners will also have to keep their pet inside at night from 9pm to 7am. They'll have to ensure their little Mittens doesn't get to roam the streets while you're in bed otherwise they can face a hefty penalty.
Owners will have to make sure their cats have a collar and tag with contact information as well.
The bylaws will go to the public for final approval before they're submitted to the Dog and Cat Management Board for endorsement.
There has been some fierce community backlash against the proposed laws, with opponents saying it will do nothing to stop feral cat numbers going skyward.
Councillors Anna Leombruno and Therese Britton-La Salle said other measures, like subsidised desexing and voluntary confinement, would be better at controlling population numbers.
Other councils in Adelaide have introduced similar laws, however there has been mixed success.
Cr Britton-La Salle said there are 'strong reasons' why less than 10 percent of other councils had brought in cat bylaws and they should be focusing on other methods.
"The problem does not lie with residents' cats, the problem lies in feral cats and unhomed cats in the community," she said.
"If residents feel there is problem with unhomed cats, let's address that. Let's not target residents' cats, their loved pets."
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