BASS Coast cats are on notice – their days of carousing, brawling and stalking innocent birds are drawing to a close.
Councillors this week voted to adopt the Domestic Animal Management Plan which mandates a 24/7 cat lockdown from July 1, 2023.
Local cats were placed under a night time curfew in 2016, with the idea that it would eventually expand to become a 24/7 grounding. The time has arrived.
Between now and D-Day the council will work to educate and support cat owners to contain their cats on their own properties. Since cats are undeterred by walls and fences, this generally means confining them to the house.
Many conscientious cat owners have already constructed elaborate systems to allow their pets a taste of the outdoors while keeping them safe and preventing them from butchering the local wildlife.
A community working group will work with the council and help to spread the message about responsible cat ownership. The council will also investigate ways it can support the community to buy or build cat enclosures.
Most of the attention in the plan is on cats this time, which is interesting considering a survey conducted for the plan found 65.5 per cent of local respondents had dogs while only 16.5 per had cats.
Contained cats can be walked and exercised outside of their property if kept on a leash.
The perennial dogfight is between hoodies (guardians of the rare hooded plovers) and some dog owners who refuse to leash their dogs during breeding season when the chicks are at their most vulnerable. Last year it led to threats of violence and vigilante campaigns on Phillip Island.
The plan touches on the issue without attempting to solve it. It does commit to reviewing the current rules on shire-managed beaches and to bring them into line with beaches controlled by Phillip Island Nature Parks and Parks Victoria.
It also committed to developing a business case for introducing poo dispenser bags in public spaces such as dog parks.
Which prompted this response from Cr Ron Bauer: “Why do we need a business case to bring in the no-brainer of the poo dispenser bags on the poles? … Let me tell you the best way to bring in this measure. Get a nail, a hammer and nail it to the pole and for good measure get a red bin. Job done. Oh and don’t forget in summer to pick up the bin every week.”
Cat tales: March 7, 2015 – Carmen Bush explains why she keeps her cat confined.