Cat curfew back on the council’s agenda

Cat curfew back on the council’s agenda

The cat curfew debate has clawed its way back onto the agenda.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Wollondilly councillors supported establishing wildlife protection areas to prevent cats from attacking native animals.

The council will also run a public education program about responsible cat ownership and care.

A related brochure will remind locals of their requirements under the companion animals act, what they can do to be a responsible owner and it will encourage owners to keep their cats inside at night.

Councillor Simon Landow, who raised the issue in November last year, still wants to see a cat curfew introduced across the state.

“I am pleased the council has taken a proactive approach to looking at which areas can be protected and where cats should be prohibited,” he said.

“That is a good starting point. 

“I still support the introduction of a cat curfew. I think the legislation will eventually change. 

“Campbelltown and Wingecarribee are also proposing similar ideas.

“I am still speaking to the right people in order to change the legislation and I will continue to pursue the idea.

“I believe NSW will eventually have a cat curfew.”

The Companion Animals Act 1998 provides no definition for a stray cat, therefore there is no offence in a cat straying and no requirement for cats to be kept inside.

Cats are prohibited in wildlife protection areas and the shire does not have defined areas yet. 

The areas protect vital habitat for native vegetation and fauna, which have significant threatened ecological value.

The council has suggested Douglas Park Oval, Lyn Gordon Reserve in Thirlmere, Scotcheys Reserve in Silverdale and Tahmoor Sportsground as potential sites to establish wildlife protection areas.

Cr Landow would like to see more reserves considered.

“I would like the council to look into areas where new estates back onto reserves and national parks,” he said.

“Lyn Gordon would be a good area because it is a large reserve that includes a creek, and several native bush and wildlife live there.”

Cr Landow said responsible pet ownership was still key.

“It would be great if an extra education campaign could go out to new estates that back onto sensitive environments to remind new residents of their responsibilities.”

Mayor Judith Hannan supported the education campaign and encouraged pet owners to keep their cats inside.

“We have so many beautiful animals in the shire and this is what we can do to protect them,” she said.