Couple seek cat controls

The threat cats pose to Dunedin's native birds means they should be microchipped and registered just as dogs are, councillors were told yesterday.

Broad Bay couple Helen Clarke and John Langley said domestic cats were responsible for the ''demise'' of many of the city's native birds and reptiles.

They supported the ''compulsory registration and micro-chipping of cats'' and a limit on cat ownership as a way of controlling the cat population and making it easier to identify feral cats.

Ms Clarke said this could be a ''starting point'' and other options, including not allowing cats to leave owners' properties, could be introduced later.

Cr Chris Staynes said it would be ''very difficult'' for owners to keep cats within their property and asked how this would be feasible.

Mr Langley said dogs could ''jump quite high'' and questioned why cat owners should be treated differently from dog owners: ''It's a mindset change; that's all we need.''

Cr Aaron Hawkins asked what the submitters meant by enabling property owners to treat feral cats ''as such''.

Ms Clarke said this depended on the property owner, but included being able to ''kill'' the cat.

Council staff commented on the submission, saying such a bylaw would require government legislation.

Get real Cr Staynes

Cr Chris Staynes said it would be ''very difficult'' for owners to keep cats within their property and asked how this would be feasible.

Make it a condition of cat ownership and leave the rest up to the owners just as the council already does for dog owners, it is no-one else's responsibility. If you want to own a horse you have to ensure it is kept confined and not allowed to roam the street or neighbourhood, after all how difficult is it to keep a horse confined?

If your cat continues to roam freely it becomes labeled as feral and can be trapped and destroyed, I don't care that cat owners will complain about the cost and restraints on their disgusting pets. Cr Staynes your response is ill considered and a cop out.

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