25 signatures reached
To: Auckland Council
Keeping Cats Safe in Auckland
Pass a bylaw that requires
1. People who have companion cats to ensure that they are microchipped
2. Ensure that this information(1. above) is kept up to date on the microchip register.
3. Owners must keep their cats on their property at all times.
4. Up to three companion cats can be kept without a permit; however, if you want more than a license is needed. The local council would issue these. Breeders exempt from this.
5. All breeders must be registered with an appropriate governing body such as the New Zealand Cat Fancy Incorporation.
6. The Council to issue fines set by them to anyone found to be breaking 5. above.
Eventually, we would want to see these Bylaws adopted by other Councils throughout New Zealand.
Why is this important?
Have you ever come across a cat or kitten who has died crossing the road? If you haven't, then you are fortunate and, you don't live near where I live. I have lost count of the number of cats that have lost their lives crossing roads; mostly at night and not always on busy streets. The worst time of year has been around Guy Fawkes night. Then the number of cats that die is significantly higher than the rest of the year.
I decided to do some research on the subject, including how other countries handle this issue problem. Here is what I discovered.
In Brisbane, Australia, in 2017, the Brisbane Council enacted the Animal Local Laws Act that requires people who have companion cats to microchip them, keep the microchip details up to date and the cat must have a collar containing contact information. As well you are required to keep your cat on your property. They do not have to be indoors all the time; they can be kept in an enclosure which could be connected to your house by a cat door or some other means. You can keep up to three companion cats without a permit; however, if you want more than a license is needed.
I also looked at what they do in England to keep cats safe. They also recommend keeping cats in at night because accidents are more severe at night/in dark hours, including morning/afternoons in winter months. They also noted that it is not just road that are hazards for cats at night but that they can become injured through contact with other animals, including wild animals. There have also been problems with people in London going out at night killing cats. They have also recommended that a cat owner put a reflective or fluorescent quick-release collar on the cat as it may help them be seen. Research by Pet Insurance companies in England found that approximately 78% of all road traffic accidents involving cats happen at night.
Specialists in both countries agree that you should never lock a cat out at night.
Our family has always kept our cats in at night. While they were young adults, they may have tried to escape on occasions and be a little restless; however, they soon adjust. Cats are hunters; however, there is no reason why they should be allowed to roam around at night. Our cats have adopted the same sleep pattern as us of sleeping at night time. We had an old aviary that we attached to our house via a bedroom window, and that worked well. If your yard is completely fenced its possible to use a fence attachment such as the Oscillot cat fence which is a paddle system that attaches to the top of a wall, making it impossible for a cat to climb over. If you Google search you can find a variety of ideas and designs.
In Auckland, there is no limit on the number of cats you can keep on your property. There is no legislation as such, only a responsible cat owner guidelines. There are bylaws protecting dogs and preventing them from becoming a public nuisance, but there are none concerning cats. Why not? In Auckland, anyone who witnesses pain or suffering of a cat needs to report it to the police and or the SPCA; otherwise, they breach the Animal Welfare Act. All well and good, however, this gives no protection to cats nor stops them from becoming a hazard. A recent Wellington study found that on average cats crossed four roads per day. While the Aminal Welfare Act contains a level of recognition that keeping cats safe means keeping the contained inside the home or on the property, there is no legal obligation to do so.
The NZ Government has a Code of Welfare: Companion Cat which came into effect from October 2018. Once again it only contains recommendations such as keeping your cat indoors between dusk and dawn, keeping them indoors when fireworks are in use. The document states that some cats prefer to be out at night and will find their place under houses, in garden sheds, in dense undergrowth, etc. How is this responsible cat ownership? Are they genuinely saying that cats know that is best for them? The document has a lot of useful information on feeding, health and breeding but about from recommending that they are kept inside at night, there is nothing that protects a cat. Recommendations are one thing, but legal requirements are another.
It's time to make a change, to act decisively to ensure the safety of all cats in Auckland, ensuring that they also do not become a community problem. Please sign and share the petition.