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Cat management Engagement Summary

Cat Management Engagement Findings Report

Read the full report on the Cat Management Engagement project.

Background

Late last year Council adopted a new Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-25 that outlines how Council will manage cats and dogs in the local community. The plan, was informed by more than 3,000 pieces of feedback and balances community and environmental needs. The plan aims to improve responsible pet ownership through a number of exciting initiatives. These include an annual pet expo, a program within local schools, information pop-ups in the community, partnering with registered dog trainers to present demonstrations and conduct online webinars as well as joining forces with local vets to share information.

During the consultation period we received a great deal of feedback asking for more investigation around cats. Now we want to hear from you and what you think about cat confinement and/or mandatory desexing of newly registered cats.

Domestic Animals Act 1994

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 requires that all dogs be confined to their owner’s property unless under effective control (i.e. on a leash) or in a designated off-leash area.

However, the Act does not require the same confinement of cats, which leads to nuisance complaints, maimed wildlife, injuries from cat fights and traffic incidents, spread of feline diseases and overpopulation.

Instead, it is up to individual councils to decide whether to introduce a Domestic Animals Order requiring cats to be confined to their owner’s property. Councils can also introduce an Order requiring dogs or cats to be desexed prior to accepting registration.

Key Information

Cats that are not confined and/or desexed may lead to injuries by other cats and vehicles, unwanted kittens, nuisance complains and maimed wildlife.

Why is council considering changes to cat welfare?
Council is considering cat confinement and/or mandatory cat desexing due to feedback provided at our recent Domestic Animal Management Plan consultation, to enhance the welfare and safety of cats, and in response to reports about nuisance cats, environmental impacts of cats in parks and reserves and attacks on wildlife.

More conversation with our community is required to gain a better understanding of your thoughts about cat curfews and mandatory cat desexing.

We want to hear from you

Your feedback will help Council decide if we need to introduce either or both of these initiatives. The team will be out and about in community locations over the coming weeks, pop past and share your thoughts and have any questions answered. You can also complete the online survey below.