Frustration at harm to wildlife by dumped cats

People are deliberately dumping their unwanted cats on the Otago Peninsula causing deaths among some of the area's most vulnerable species.

Elm Wildlife Tours owner Brian Templeton has trapped and killed almost 80 cats since the beginning of last year.

He said cats were devastating to native birds and lizards and they were ''obviously'' being dumped there.

''We have found skeletons of blue penguins that have been stripped bare, killed by cats.''

Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust, project manager Richard Wilson said they were trying to rid the area of possums only for the cat problem to emerge.

He said a lot of Peninsula residents were actively trapping cats because they were ''overwhelmed'' by them.

Less helpful was the evidence of people feeding the wild cats which he said showed complete ''ignorance'' of the damage they caused to the natural environment.

''Please don't feed wild cats, it is bloody crazy and it is bloody frustrating.''

Mr Templeton said people should have their cat euthanised if they did not want it any more.

''But if they are going to dump a cat, for Christ's sake dump it somewhere were it is not going to damage so much wildlife.''

SPCA Otago executive officer Sophie McSkimming said they did not have the resources to ''chase wild cats around Dunedin'' but they would care for a sick cat.

The issue of ''semi-wild'' cats around Dunedin would be the subject of a meeting of the Dunedin City Council, SPCA and cat de-sexing organisation PetFix.

''It is just an ongoing problem and it is about time that we got together and sorted it out.''

One of the big sources of abandoned cats was in North Dunedin and the SPCA was now offering $20 de-sexing and health checks for students' cats, with the first clinic next Friday.

Miss McSkimming said all 60 places in the clinic sold out in just two days and they would try to set another one up soon.

The SPCA's mobile desexing caravan would be able to process another 350 cats in December.

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