Bass Coast Shire Council announces cat ban and fines to protect Phillip Island penguins


Australian council to BAN cats from roaming outside an owner’s property at any hour – with huge fines for those who break the rules

  • Bass Coast becomes the latest council in Victoria to introduce 24-7 cat curfew
  • Aims to stop feline predators from killing wildlife and protecting the region’s penguins
  • Owners who don’t keep their cats contained on their own property will face fines

Cat owners who allow their feline friends to roam the streets have been put on notice as a local council rolls out a 24-7 curfew that includes tough fines.

Bass Coast Shire Council in Victoria’s south-east has implemented a 24-7 cat containment order, which means cats must stay on their own property at all times.

It’s part of a desperate move to protect local wildlife, including the region’s world famous penguins at Phillip Island.

Owners who don’t keep their cats contained will be fined $180 under the curfew, which has been welcomed by the local community.

Cats don’t need to be permanently locked up indoors but must be confined to their own yard if outdoors.

The council will launch an education campaign to help cat owners and their beloved pets adjust to the strict rules before the ban comes into effect July 1 next year.

Bass Coast Shire Council has adopted a 24-7 curfew to prevent cats from roaming the streets

‘This order is being put in place to protect the cats, as well as our local wildlife, and to reduce the issues that straying pets can cause in the community,’ Bass Coast mayor Michael Whelan said.

‘During the 2020-21 period, 155 cats were found roaming and ended up at Council’s pound. These are the fortunate ones; Many are killed and some become feral and do untold damage to our native fauna.’

Council chief executive Ali Wastie added: ‘We have penguins and an abundance of native wildlife. The only way to keep our wildlife safe is to have these cats contained.’

Wildlife conservationists have embraced the curfew to stop cat predators killing thousands of native species each year.

It will also protect penguins on Phillip Island, one of Australia’s most widely known tourist attractions.

‘Each year when we’re undertaking cat trapping on Crown land, we’re on average catching 40 to 70 cats,’ Phillip Island Nature Park conservation manager Jessica McKelson told the ABC.

‘We’re trying to protect our key areas where we know our penguins and our shearwaters and other key coastal birds live in.’

Ecologist Dr Jim Radford told Seven News: ‘The average pet cat wandering unrestrained 24-7 kills around 115 native animals per year.’

The cat curfew aims to protect wildlife, including Phillip Island's famous penguins (pictured)

The cat curfew aims to protect wildlife, including Phillip Island’s famous penguins (pictured)

The curfew has prompted overwhelming support from Bass Shire locals.

‘This should have been in place a long time ago. Not to be awful re cats as I love all animals, it’s also to protect the cats,’ one woman commented online.

Another local added: ‘Well done Bass Council for this cat control initiative. You are a fantastic role model for other Councils to follow across Australia.’

But not everyone agreed.

’24/7 I don’t agree, a bit ridiculous,’ one cat lover commented.

Another added: ‘The tourists would kill more wildlife, typical selfish cat haters.’

Cats must stay on their own properties 24-7 under the curfew implemented by Bass Council

Cats must stay on their own properties 24-7 under the curfew implemented by Bass Council

Similar bans are already enforced by several Melbourne councils, including Knox, Manningham and the Yarra Ranges, amid calls for cat curfews to be rolled out nationwide.

Perth’s City of Bayswater Council is currently consulting the community over a proposal to ban cats from 42 natural areas.

Cat owners would face a $250 fine and could have their cat seized or impounded if their moggy is found in a prohibited zone under the proposed laws.

They would face the same penalty if their cat is found in a public place and not under effective control.

Predatory cats kills thousands of native wildlife species each year on the Bass Coast (stock)

Predatory cats kills thousands of native wildlife species each year on the Bass Coast (stock)

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