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.

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