Melton Leader; 3 Aug 10 @ 08:00am by Liam McAleer
NEWLY registered cats in Melton shire must now be desexed by law.
The new law will be introduced over the next three months after councillors voted 6-1 in favour of the motion at last week’s meeting.
It’s hoped the mandatory desexing of cats will reduce the number of stray and feral cats in the shire as well as reduce their impact on wildlife.
Councillors hope the law will also see less putting down of kittens, fewer cat fights and fewer homeless, hungry and sick cats.
The council first decided to draft the mandatory cat de-sexing laws last December, when a notice of motion – which originally included a proposed cat curfew but was later denied – and petition were presented to council.
Council’s corporate services manager Kel Tori said de-sexing would only be mandatory for cats registered for the first time, not existing registered cats.
“It’s not retrospective, it will apply for cats on their first registration,” he said. “If an unregistered cat is impounded, before it can be released it must be registered and desexed.”
Cr Sophie Ramsey, the only councillor to oppose the law, said she supported mandatory de-sexing, as long as it would not disadvantage members of the community. “As a council our number one priority is the health and well-being of the members of our community and it’s a proven fact that owning pets benefits a lot of people such as the elderly and the disabled,” she said.
“A lot of people are struggling with the increased costs of everyday living and to be subjected to additional costs for compulsory de-sexing of cats, which is in the vicinity of a few hundred dollars, could be really hard for those struggling to make ends meet. Ninety-eight per cent of our residents to the right thing, but if people can’t afford it and would still like to be pet owners, I’d hate to see anyone disadvantaged by that.
“But, it is my understanding that there are grants available and residents can apply for council’s hardship policy, so I’m quite comfortable with the law if that’s the case.”
There are about 3800 registered cats in the shire, with the vast majority desexed.