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The owner of a cat filmed urinating on children’s toys in a neighbor’s backyard is the first person to be fined under the new Mount Barker District Council statute.
- The Mount Barker District Council introduced its curfew on cats in July 2020
- The council has received 120 complaints since then but has just published its first notice of atonement
- The RSPCA wants a nationwide approach to cat management
A cat curfew has been in place in the Adelaide Hills district since last July, prohibiting owners from leaving their cats outside between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Council health and safety manager Jamie Tann said he has since received 120 complaints of pesky cats from members of the public, but the most recent communication of the $ 112 atonement was the first.
“It was an ongoing problem as unfortunately one owner’s cat was regularly coming into another’s garden,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“We spoke with the cat owner, raised the problem, told them that the cat was breaking the statute and that the cat was bothering the resident and her family by spraying garden furniture and children’s toys, which is not very nice. “
Mr Tann said that the situation then calmed down for a while until the resident complained to the council again.
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He said the council then fined it for speaking to the cat owner.
“We are conducting an investigation to make sure that the actual crime in the statute is being committed,” said Tann.
“The resident also had pretty good CCTV footage on their own property.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Stray cats on the nose
Greater Adelaide councils have stepped up their efforts to deal with stray cats in recent years with several introductory statutes imposing curfews and detention laws.
They aim to better protect native animals from predatory behavior and prevent pesky cats from getting into other people’s backyards and urinating on property.
Various peppers have been sprinkled on Adelaide’s front door to ward off the spray from cats. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)
Paul Stevenson, chief executive officer of RSPCA SA, endorsed curfews for cats, saying it was a cost-effective approach to fighting stray cats and “an important step in establishing responsible cat ownership”.
Cats in the crosshairs
Harassing cats who spray urine on doorsteps and feces in people’s backyards are in the crosshairs of Adelaide Councils.
He said the community has come a “long way” to understand what responsible dog ownership is like, but it is a long way to deal with cats.
“The number of stray dogs in South Africa has decreased by two thirds in the last 10 years, while the number of stray cats continues to increase,” said Stevenson.
“People get their dogs desexual, microchipped, registered and kept on their property, but we’re just starting out with cats.”
He added that many people had relaxed attitudes toward cat ownership, “letting them want them to” and not giving them microchip or desexing, “although that is now the law”.
“As pets, cats also have to set some parameters around their possessions and that will take time,” said Stevenson.
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Nationwide approach required
Mr Stevenson said a nationwide approach to cat control was “urgently needed” rather than the councils implementing their own bylaws, which “are all completely different and cover different subjects”.
“That depends on the board for dogs and cats [SA]and I know it’s one of their priorities and they are working towards it, “he said.
The SA Environment Minister David Speirs said late last year that the Dog and Cat Management Act would not be available for review until mid-2022 and urged councils to create their own statutes in the meantime.
“Anything this state government is doing could be 18 months to two years away, so the councils can easily get on with it now,” he said in December.