Council strengthens cat laws to keep state and strays at bay

A CRACKDOWN on cats is under way.

Gladstone Regional Council is strengthening local laws that will tighten its control on felines.

Cats are currently required to be registered in the Gladstone region, but changes to State Government legislation last year will remove this requirement.

If cats are to remain under the council's jurisdiction, a local law is needed before state laws take effect in October.

Gladstone was one of the first local councils to include cat registrations in local animal laws.

Councillors voted to amend local animal management laws to ensure regulation of cats remains with council at the fortnightly council meeting on Tuesday.

The council's environment spokesperson, Councillor Colin Chapman, said projected revenue from cat registrations would cover the cost of cat control services.

He said he hoped cat registration would provide a financial incentive for responsible pet ownership as it encouraged the de-sexing of domestic cats.

"Substantial registration fee reductions apply to de-sexed cats, reducing the breeding population within the region," he said.

The number of stray cats is an ongoing concern in Gladstone, particularly in the central business district, according to Friends of the RSPCA's cat coordinator Betty Bridge.

But cat registration would not fix the problem, she said.

"Feral cats are created by feral people," she said.

"If you can get a good desexing program going the feral cats will die out."

Ms Bridge said on Wednesday that while the council was very supportive of Friends of the RSPCA's work facilitating cat adoptions, Gladstone was 20 years behind other parts of the world where stray cats were caught and neutered, not killed.

"In other countries like the UK and some US states, they have neuter and release programs," she said.

"We trap and kill.

"We're about 20 years behind the rest of the world in how we operate in animal welfare."

The council is determined to reduce the number of stray cats, according to Mayor Gail Sellers.

"People should be responsible for their own pet," she said.

"They should have them spayed and they should have them registered.

"They should know where their cats are.

"Cats aren't like dogs - they can roam."

Cat facts

2012-2013

  • Cats registered: 2271, or 19% of animal registrations
  • Impounded: 324
  • Cats euthanised: 247
  • Cats collected from residences by the council: 188
  • Requests for cat traps to catch roaming cats: 223
  • Cost of cat traps: $20 per five-day roaming period


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