Pet parents have raised concerns after one drove in New South Wales she warned against euthanizing cats found roaming the streets due to a perceived threat to native wildlife.
Hornsby Shire in North West Sydney has reportedly taken a drastic decision to kill cats that are considered feral if found in rough appearance or not microchipped. The municipality’s policy requires no exception cat to be held for any given time before euthanasia.
However, following the introduction of new laws in March last year, local councils are mandated to detain stray animals for a two-week period before euthanasia.
Hornsby Shire has taken the lead in a conflict 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 against cat abuse.
Hornsby Shire council has claimed that the harsh policy was introduced to protect wild flora and fauna from feral animals.
“Feral cats can harm other domestic animals or take the lives of native fauna, which can be a very significant problem. We need to deal with these problems in an appropriate way,” Hornsby Shire general manager Steven Head was quoted as saying by The Daily Mail as saying.
Jenny Fisher, a cat owner from Dural, 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 be desexing, rehoming and rescuing them,” Ms Fisher told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Most of the cats found by the municipality are lost indoor cats. It is too easy to kill and harder to take care of,” added the member of the World League for the Protection of Animals.
Jacquie Rand, the executive director of the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, said blaming cats for the destruction of wildlife led to cruelty along with the “unnecessary and senseless killing of many healthy cats and kittens”.
Both federal and domesticated kill 1.7 billion native animals each year, according to Sarah Legge, an honorary professor of wildlife conservation at the Australian National University.
“There is absolutely no doubt that cats have had and continue to have enormous detrimental effects on our wildlife, especially our native mammals.”