Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Council to consider new limits on cat ownership

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Patricia Gill, Denmark Bulletin

The Shire of Denmark is reviewing local laws concerning the keeping of cats with a limit of two animals older-than-six months per household being considered in an effort to curb the feral population.

The Shire will also have more power to restrict the movement of cats and those that cause a nuisance.

There are 183 registered cats in the Denmark shire and consultation is underway on the proposed rules which the Denmark Shire Council will likely consider in September.

The comment period of the proposed changes to the local cat law closed on Friday, August 12.

Approval will be needed to keep more than two cats under the proposal and cats will be banned in specific areas.

This is part of the Shire’s control strategy because State Government legislation is insufficient for a growing problem.

Denmark environmental and other conservation groups have requested, and supported, the Shire to introduce tougher conditions pertaining to cat ownership.

The local law overhaul comes as in WA 36 mammals, 22 bird and 11 reptile species are vulnerable to predation by feral cats.

They also adversely affect a range of other native animals. Australia-wide, feral cats have played a major role in the extinction of at least 27 mammal species and at present endanger 147 Australian mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.

Feral cats are recognised by the Environment and Invasives Committee as an extreme threat category for Australia (the highest threat) (IPAC 2015).

Predation by feral cats is recognised as a key threatening process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Under the proposed rules for Denmark, fines of up to $1000 would apply for people who keep more than two cats without Shire approval.

In Denmark cat numbers are rising and the Shire is one of two aiming to ban cats in specific locations.

Recently, the Shire of Cuballing proposed a cat ban in areas around the Dryandra Woodland National Park, which is home to the endangered numbat.

The current legislation, however, does not allow for such bans. The Albany and Surrounds Feral Cat Working Group advocates for responsible cat ownership and educates the community, especially children, on the importance of cat containment.

Cat enthusiasts say the animals can be content in appropriate indoor spaces, if their needs are met and they are well looked after.

Denmark Bulletin 18 August 2022

The article appeared in the Denmark Bulletin, 18 August 2022.

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