Eurobodalla Council has written to the NSW Government urging it to introduce stricter requirements for cat containment and the potential introduction of a dusk to dawn cat curfew.
It follows a motion put forward by Councillor Anthony Mayne at the April 10 meeting of Council.
Strengthening requirements for cat containment in the NSW Animal Companion Act would help protect local wildlife from cat predation, encourage responsible cat ownership and reduce unwanted cat breeding. It would also help to protect cats themselves from fighting and being injured while wandering.
It was noted a cat curfew would not require cat owners to do anything other than ensure their cat was safely contained each night.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman spoke in “full support” of the motion at the Council meeting, saying it was a “win-win”.
“Cat owners, communities, cats and native wildlife all win,” he said.
“Managing cats and their impacts is a major challenge in Australia. No one has the ultimate solution to deal with the various categories of cats. At least we can deal with the owned cat population and influence their outcomes, by way of cat curfews.
“An amendment to the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998, either to provide for a cat curfew, or give local councils the discretion to introduce a curfew, would help in encouraging responsible pet ownership.”
Mr Coleman said cat containment and curfews should be considered in a local context, for example cats living near national parks and wildlife reserves posed a greater risk to wildlife compared to cats living in highly urbanised settings. He said a phase-in period should also be implemented to allow cats and owners time to adjust.
The motion to advocate for the introduction of a cat curfew and/or stricter requirements for cat containment will also be submitted to the NSW Local Government Conference and Canberra Region Joint Organisation for their consideration.
It recognised the constructive actions Council was already taking to address the impacts of domestic cats on wildlife, such as Council’s innovative CatBib program, but stated there was a need to do more.
For more information on the CatBib program, which provides cat owners with free CatBibs that help reduce predation on local wildlife, head to Council’s website www.esc.nsw.gov.au and search for “CatBib”.