Pet parents have raised concerns after a New South Wales council warned them to euthanize cats found wandering the streets due to an alleged threat to native wildlife .
Hornsby Shire in Sydney’s northwest has reportedly taken the drastic step of killing cats deemed feral if they are found to be rough-looking or not microchipped. Board policy does not require a feral cat to be held for a specific length of time before euthanasia.
However, following the introduction of new laws in March last year, local councils are now mandated to detain stray animals for a period of two weeks before euthanasia.
Hornsby Shire has taken the lead in a row between councils, the New South Wales government and animal welfare groups over the treatment of cats.
Local councils have called for stricter policies, while cat parents have warned of feline suffering.
Hornsby Shire Council argued that the hardline policy was introduced to protect wild flora and fauna from wild animals.
“Feral cats may well damage other domestic animals or kill native wildlife, which can be quite a significant problem. We need to deal with these issues appropriately,” said Hornsby Shire chief executive Steven Head, quoted through The daily mail as told.
Dural cat owner Jenny Fisher said the council’s opposition to the new laws was a knee-jerk reaction because it was easier to kill the animal.
“Instead of stigmatizing cats, we should de-exercise them, repatriate them and rescue them,” Ms Fisher said. The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Most of the cats found by the council are indoor lost cats. It’s too easy to kill and harder to care for,” the World Animal Welfare League member added.
Jacquie Rand, executive director of the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, said blaming cats for wildlife destruction leads to cruelty as well as the “unnecessary and needless killing of many healthy cats and kittens”.
Federal and domestic authorities kill 1.7 billion native animals every year, according to Sarah Legge, honorary professor of wildlife conservation at the Australian National University.
“There is no doubt that cats have had, and continue to have, tremendous detrimental effects on our wildlife, especially our native mammals.”