I like Wyndham Council. When they discuss their cat laws, they don’t blather on about how it will be good for the cats’ personal self-esteem to be treated more like dogs. Nor do they try to peddle the notion that it is in the interest of cat kind that they are rounded up and killed. Basically none of that animal welfare malarkey – they just outline their big, fat cat cull plans…
The council’s draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2013-2016, released last week, includes investigating if the re-establishment of a cat curfew order would assist with the management of cat nuisance.
About 93 per cent of the cats taken to the council’s pound each year are not registered.
So although the compulsory cat registration laws weren't effecting the 93% of the cats entering the pound because they were unowned (go figure!), by bringing back their cat curfew Council could increase their capacity to impound cats.
Mayor Heather Marcus said stray and unowned cats posed a potential disease risk to registered cats in people’s backyards.
Cat curfews allow rangers to trap and kill cats more effectively – if she’s out after dark, then she’s fair game.
Wyndham had a cat curfew previously (2000 to 2009). Made as an addition to the City’s compulsory cat registration, the order prohibited cats being outside their owner’s property at night, and banned the presence of cats in any public place. As a result, the impoundment of cats had been steadily increasing. Yet in the entire decade that the curfew laws were in place, not a single fine was issued to a cat owner. In 2010 the curfew was debated by Council, then re-enacted.
Year – Impounded cats
05/06 – 728
06/07 – 765
07/08 – 1,186
08/09 – 1,111
09/10 – 1,355
10/11 – 1,250
11/12 – 1,235
12/13 - 1,260
(… kind of running counter to the oft-repeated theory that you can impound and kill your way to no longer having to impound and kill).
Council was criticised for not providing any ‘enforcement’ for the laws. Council quite reasonably felt spending tens of thousands of dollars having someone out trapping unowned cats at night so they could be brought in for slaughter, was not a good use of the City’s resources. So they simply gave traps to people who wanted to trap cats. It said “most trapped cats had no identification and were never claimed, meaning there was no one to fine”. In other words rather than curb ‘irresponsible’ ownership, the laws simply drove unowned cats into the pound. YA THINK?
At the same time, Council records showed the City’s cat owners were already remarkably compliant, with 95 per cent of Wyndham’s 5415 registered cats, desexed. Council was also forking out over $30,000 a year for the Lost Dogs Home Boutique Cat Killing Service.
Along with confinement Council vowed to start;
… increasing public education in relation to feeding stray cats, increased cat trapping and providing discounted desexing of cats.
These three approaches – encouraging people to impound not feed, expanding trapping and restricting desexing programs to owned pets - is a sure-fire plan to increased impoundment and killing. Despite the underwhelming performance of ten years of cat laws, and the acknowledgement that the owned cat population really isn’t causing the City’s problems, Wyndham Council is not deterred from staying the course of using punitive legislation against cat owners; Council will kick off 2017 by introducing mandatory cat desexing *face palm*
From January 2, all cats in the city will need to be desexed by the time they are three months old and prior to registration.
Undesexed moggies that are impounded will need to be desexed before they are released.
... Other measures include reducing registration fees for cats, increasing cat-trapping programs and a return home process for identifiable cats and dogs rather than impounding them.
Wyndham is designing its ‘new’ approach to cat management, on its old, decade long, failed approach to cat management. They will arm novice members of the public – many likely don’t really like or respect cats – with cat traps, and instruct them to trap healthy animals living in the community, and bring them to the pound so the pound can kill them.
They will hold impounded cats to ransom, with owners unable to claim their pets without paying hundreds of dollars in fees and charges, including desexing. The Lost Dogs Home get to keep provinding their cat --> incinerator service. And council keep on outsourcing the majority of their animal management to the cat haters in the community.
For doing this, Council will be lauded by major animal welfare groups for their proactive approach to cat ‘care’.
There is obscenely something wrong with this picture.
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Saving Pets (2013) Wyndham to expand cat impoundment, killing
Saving Pets (2014) Wyndham Council gives failure another try
Wyndham Council - Trespassing Cats Flyer
Wyndham Council - Mandatory Desexing Announcement
Wyndham Council - Domestic Animal Management Plan (2013-18)