Nambucca Shire's Cr Anne Smyth wants action to help control wandering cats

Roaming cats and the threat they pose to birdlife as well as ground mammals, frogs, snakes and lizards, was the subject of a notice of motion put forward by Cr Anne Smyth.

Cr Smyth cited 2014 figures by the then Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, that put the number of feral and stray cats in Australia at around 20 million, killing up to 20 billion animals per year.

"There are concerns in the public that nothing is happening to control roaming cats," Cr Smyth said.

"I'm asking for a report as well as a couple of letters to be sent, to find out what the State Government is doing about this problem ... and whether the Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group has made any recommendations to it yet."

In the tabled report Cr Smyth wrote that because cats enjoyed immunity to roam, council rangers were unable to pick domestic cats up, unless they were declared a 'nuisance' ... and that there is no definition for 'stray cat' in the Companion Animals Act'.

Cr John Ainsworth said in the past "if a cat was 100 metres from home, it was deemed feral and could be picked up.

Cr Hoban quipped that defining feral could present a problem.

"Does it depend on how the cat reacts to being caught," she said.

General Manager Michael Coulter mandatory micro-chipping of cats was introduced in 2018.

The council voted to:

  1. Contact LGNSW Policy Branch to ascertain what progress and consultation has occurred in relation to their adopted Policy which advocates for review of the provisions for cat management and control under the Local Government Act and Companion Animals Act.
  1. Receive a report from staff on the implications/positives (environmental, social and financial) for Council if cats were permitted to be regulated in a similar manner to dogs.
  1. Contact the Minister for Local Government to ascertain whether the Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group has made any recommendations in relation to this matter.

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