The WA Cat Act is the jewel in the ‘mandatory desexing’ zealot’s crown. As legislation it included everything that a cat-law advocate could have dreamed of;
it were enacted state-wide and every council was required to make provisions for it; to include it in their operations and to resource the enforcement of it. It was well-resourced by the state, with a $3.4m tax-payer funded gift to councils and local cat charities, to be used for both desexing programs and new cat pound facilities.
it was retroactive; ALL cats are subject to the laws. It was also extremely comprehensive with cats needing to be desexed, microchipped, to wear a collar and registration tag, be registered with the local council. Also includes a ‘breeder licence’ element with cat sellers required to microchip all cats, and desex (or provide voucher) before sale.
the laws give animal agencies almost unprecedented powers. Authorised officers can enter property, take photos and request paperwork… and all simply under the suspicion that a cat is being kept ‘illegally’. Cat pounds can have a cat microchipped and sterilised at the owner’s cost, while the fines for breaching the laws are considerable – $200 per offence, and up to $5,000.
Having nailed every element, the laws should have done what the advocates for the laws said they would do; reduce impoundment (and the subsequent killing) of cats.
Below are a few charts tracking cat management in the state.
Cats available for adoption on PetRescue in WA, prior to the Cat Act (Nov 2013)
Cats available for adoption on PetRescue in WA, today
Cat listed on Gumtree.com.au (including trendline)
Cat listed on Gumtree.com.au by source (including trendlines)