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Australian Council Considers Banning Cats Outside Unless They’re On Leads

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Australian Council Considers Banning Cats Outside Unless They’re On Leads

A council in Perth, Western Australia is considering banning cats from being outdoors unless they're on a lead.

The rule, which would come as an amendment to Fremantle's Cat Management Local Law, would ban cats from natural bushland areas, gardens that could be considered refuges for wildlife, median strips and street trees.

Cats would also be prohibited on roads for their own safety.

Can you imagine trying to get wee Mittens into a harness or a leash to take them out for a stroll?

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Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Juniors Bildarchiv GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

The motion has been backed by City of Fremantle councillors and will impact the 750 registered cats in the city.

Speaking to Perth Now, Councillor Adin Lang said the plan followed the lead of other councils who have successfully restricted the movements of cats.

"In the 1970s dogs would roam our streets and I expect roaming cats will also become a thing of the past," he said.

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"While we have prohibited areas in our natural bushland areas, cats are still entering.

"At a minimum, our bushland areas need a 'prohibited area buffer'. Many of our native verge gardens which also act as a wildlife refuge also need protection from cats.

Brad Leue / Alamy Stock Photo
Brad Leue / Alamy Stock Photo

"Therefore, it's more practical to simply extend the prohibited areas across all of Fremantle."

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There are two factors at play, WA Feral Cat Working Group chairman, Dr Tom Hatton, told PerthNow.

"I think it recognises two essential bits of evidence - the first is the harm that roaming cats do to wildlife and the second is the health benefits to domestic cats if you keep them at home," he said.

A proposed amendment will be drafted before going back to the council to decide whether to advertise it for public feedback.

That feedback will need to be considered by the council before approval is reviewed.

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If approved, it will then be referred to the State Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation, which has the power to request changes or disallow it.

Cats kill two billion native animals annually and have wiped out more than a dozen species since being introduced by European settlers in 1788.

Feral cats can be found in 99.9 per cent of Australia and there is a total population of about 2.8 million.

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The Threatened Species Recovery Hub estimates that, on average, a single feral cat in the bush kills about 370 invertebrates, 44 frogs, 225 reptiles, 130 birds and 390 mammals per year.

While the numbers stemming from domestic cats are much lower, outdoor domestic cats are still related to the increase of feral cats nationally and tougher controls around their movements is considered to make the management of feral cats easier.

Featured Image Credit: Ian Redding / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Cats, Australia

Hannah Blackiston
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