Fremantle city council in Western Australia voted to introduce a law to ban domestic cats from being outdoors unless they are on a lead. The move is designed to protect local wildlife such as birds, possums, and reptiles from cats and remove the risk of cats being hit by cars.
The law will be applicable to the city’s 750 registered cats and owners can be fined $200 for any violation. Under the proposed law, cats would be prohibited from refuges for wildlife such as verge gardens, median strips, roads, parks, and street trees.
Fremantle city ward councilor Adin Lang who introduced the bill said:
This is about protecting our wildlife and it’s also about helping to keep people’s cats safe from catfights or getting hit by cars. While we have prohibited areas in our natural bushland areas, cats are still entering. What this will mean is if rangers see cats on the footpaths or see cats on the roads a fine could be issued to the owner, much like a fine is issued to a dog owner whose dog is off-lead.
Domestic cats are one of the most popular pets in Australia. Approximately 27% of households have a cat. It is estimated that, on average, a single feral cat in the bush kills about 370 invertebrates, 44 frogs, 225 reptiles, 130 birds, and 390 mammals per year.
Recently, Knox City Council in Melbourne also passed a law forcing cat owners to keep their pets on their property for 24 hours a day.
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