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Christchurch City Council Must Act On Feral Cats

Christchurch City Council Must Act On Feral Cats

By Sonya Ash


There are many colonies of starving and diseased cats in Christchurch.

The Christchurch City Council is failing to enforce or even acknowledge its bylaws relating to feral and abandoned cats.

Bill Townsend from the Council said on June 6, “There is no bylaw on cats”. Graeme Pulley, an environmental health officer said, the Council has “no bylaw governing the keeping of cats”. While Wendy Sisson from Cats Unloved said, the Council do have a bylaw and they are failing to enforce it.

The Christchurch city Animals (other than dogs) by law 2000 came into force on 1 November 2000. The object of the bylaw is to control the keeping of animals, other than dogs, in the district administered by the council.

General conditions of keeping animals states that every person keeping animals shall ensure the animals have access to sufficient food and water.

Feral cats are the wild offspring of domestic cats and are mainly the result of pet owners abandoning cats or failure to spay and neuter their pets and allowing them to breed uncontrolled.

Animal shelters in the US are forced to kill about 15 million homeless cats and dogs annually.

A lost or abandoned house cat will only survive about 3 years away from home. Ferals spend most of their lives pregnant and most female wild cats are pregnant every year. Toms get into fights and the resulting untreated wounds can eventually kill them. The number of homeless cats in the US is about 50 million, about as many as there are domestic cats.

In the UK there is the Protection of Animals act which makes it a punishable offence to cruelly ill treat an animal and cause it unnecessary suffering. Also the Pet Animals Act 1960 which makes it an offence to abandon an animal. This clearly refers to cats.

Pam Edwards from MAF said “the responsibility lies with the local Council. MAF has no role in this issue.” She suggested that people continue to lobby the Council to get them to do something.

Cats Unloved has been operating for 18 months. Mrs Sisson said, a domestic cat doesn’t mind being handled while a feral cat wont let you handle it. If a feral cat was trapped inside it would try to get out, climbing the walls, bouncing off the walls and trying to break the glass to escape.

It takes 300 wild females over their lifetime could have one million kittens born wild. One unsprayed female cat is capable of having 3,200 offspring in her lifetime. Female cats can have about 5 kittens in an average litter and up to three litters in one season.

Mrs Sisson said, pressure should be applied to the Council to get it to enforce its bylaws. “When will the authorities acknowledge there is a problem and do something about it”.

Mrs Sisson is taking her case to the Ombudsman.

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