The Mercury; ANNE MATHER | June 30,
New laws will now allow farmers to kill feral cats.
TOUGH new cat management laws come into effect tomorrow, aimed at reducing the number of unwanted moggies in Tasmania.
Under the laws only registered cat owners will be allowed to breed the animals to reduce the number of dumped kittens turning feral.
Owners who allow their unregistered cats to breed could face fines or have their pets confiscated.
Cat owners in rural areas will be forced to ensure their cats do not wander from home.
Farmers with livestock will be allowed to humanely kill stray cats if they are more than 1km from another house. Previously, landowners could kill dogs on their property, but not cats.
The move, aimed at protecting farm animals and wildlife, has been welcomed by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association and Environment Tasmania.
Farmers are concerned that cats spread toxoplasmosis, a disease spread through cats which harms unborn sheep.
Feral cats are also considered a pest for wildlife and native animals.
RSPCA chief executive Ben Sturges said the organisation welcomed the move.
“It goes a long way towards pushing people to be more responsible,” he said.
Mr Sturges encouraged people to have their cats microchipped and desexed in preparation for the new law.
“We hope this legislation will ultimately see fewer feral cats and unwanted kittens coming through our shelters,” he said.
But Mr Sturges said the RSPCA would be monitoring the actions of farmers to ensure cats were dealt with humanely.
The new cat legislation is on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website.