Councillor Anthony Mayne was supported by all of the Councillors with the exception of the Mayor in putting forward a motion that would see Eurobodalla suggest to the State Government that they consider the addition of a few lines of text to the next re-write of the Companion Animal Act. Basically all he wanted was for a few lines added to the legislation that would require cat owners to be as equally responsible for their cats are dog owners are required to be - animals kept under control, microchipped and desexed. Steve Colman, CEO of the RAPCA told council that these three things alone would make a massive improvement to the work that the Society does. In introducing the motion Councillor Mayne said "The impact of cats on native fauna is well documented and on the 13 February 2018 a response to a question on notice (QON18/001) articulated the constructive actions Eurobodalla Shire Council is taking to address the impacts of domestic cats on native wildlife.
"Whilst Council is conducting a wide range and some excellent programs in this space there is a requirement for
us to do more. More recently the RSPCA meet with Council and they have indicated support for a cat curfew also.
"It is anticipated a cat curfew/containment provides environmental benefits where there is a reduction on native fauna predation by cats.The curtailing of cat movements will also potentially reduce stray and lost cats in the Eurobodalla by further enabling our Rangers to carry out their work.
"The strengthening of improved cat management by the NSW Government via legislation or other appropriate mechanisms should be undertaken and this motion requires Council to lobby the NSW Government to introduce a cat curfew across NSW and/or stricter requirements for cats.
"The change to the Animal Companion Act will empower the Council Rangers to more effectively carry out their work. The benefits of such legislation would encourage responsible cat ownership, reduce the number of unwanted cats being bred, allow for cats found in a public place or on private property to be seized by the Rangers, and assist with reuniting of lost cats with their owners.
"Importantly, the cat curfew does not require cat owners to do anything complicated or expensive. Rather, is simply requires owners to ensure that their family cat is safely contained each night. While cats are great companions, they are also natural predators and when they are left to roam at night they can do enormous damage to native wildlife, breed with stray and roaming cats, get into fights and be a nuisance to residents." Councillor Lindsay Brown attempted to sagely offer that "There is no legal mechanism to introduce a curfew" which revealed that he too joined several other councillors by evidence of their comments that they too either hadn't bothered to read the report or failed to understand Councillor Mayne's intention. The highlight of the discussion was Councillor Jack Tait asking "is it possible that any cat caught is extinguished" later adding that the problem wouldn't go away saying "unless we get rid of the feral owners.."
When the vote for the motion to press ahead and see if the idea could garner support went to the vote all voted for with only the Mayor voting against saying "we haven't yet explored all the other opportunities available before going down this path"