Council to introduce 24/7 cat curfew
Published on 31 October 2023
Owners of domestic cats will have six months to ensure their pets can be contained within the boundary of their property 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Council tonight adopted a number of recommendations to make orders under the Domestic Animals Act for the improved management of cats throughout the Shire, including a cat curfew and desexing mandate for all new cats.
Earlier this year, Council undertook extensive community consultation to gauge whether there was support for improved cat management. A record 900 plus survey responses were received indicating strong support for the introduction of a shire-wide 24- hour cat curfew to property boundaries and for the mandatory desexing of cats upon registration.
Mayor Sophie Price says a 24-hour curfew not only aligns with state-wide trends and broad community sentiment, it also means that containment rules for cats will now be in line with those that exist for dogs.
“More than 94% of survey respondents cited the protection of wildlife as the main reason for supporting a curfew, with 55% citing the prevention of trespass and 48% the protection of cats from injury, disease and becoming lost.”
Cr Price says peak bodies such as the Cat Protection Society of Victoria are also fully supportive of the introduction of curfews as a win-win outcome for both cats and wildlife.
“Roaming cats are a serious threat to bio-diversity and apart from the environmental impact, they can also cause public nuisance. There is overwhelming evidence to say that cat welfare is enhanced through containment,” Cr Price says.
Council is also supporting the desexing of cats at three months of age, the same time as they are microchipped and registered. There is already a substantial discount for registration of a desexed animal.
Cats owned by registered breeders for the purposes of breeding, or those deemed unsuitable for desexing by a Vet (for example an underweight kitten) will be exempt.
Cr Price says cat owners now have six months to introduce containment measures at their properties. She says Council’s focus will be on education and support rather than compliance and says at the end of the day, these new measures are about responsible pet ownership and the protection of our beautiful environment.