Hills cat fight handballed to Parliament

Local government's are caught in a bureaucratic quagmire trying to update their cat laws.
December 21, 2023
Andrew Williams

THE Shire of Mundaring says it won’t repeal its local cat laws until the state government changes the Cat Act.

Last week at the shire’s December 12 ordinary council meeting, the council passed a motion to wait until the Cat Act 2011 is amended before starting the repeal process of its keeping of cats local law 2015 to deal with the growing concern around the harmful impact cats have on native wildlife.

This comes after the City of Kalamunda recently removed a clause from its new cat laws, Kalamunda cat law under review (Echo News, October 26).

The clause, 3.9(1)(b), said “each cat shall be contained on the premises unless under the effective control of a person.”

The city had to amend the keeping and control of cats local law 2023 and remove the clause, lest the entire law be thrown out, after the joint standing committee on delegated legislation found the clause in contradiction to the states’ Cat Act 2011.

This isn’t the first-time local government areas have attempted to curb the affect pet cats have on surrounding ecosystems, as Esperance, Kwinana and Fremantle all faced the same hurdle in trying to enact cat containment laws.

In the previously referred to motion passed by the Shire of Mundaring, the council also agree to advocate to the state government to review the Cat Act, but this also isn’t the first time the government has received feedback the Act is not doing enough.

In 2019 the Department of Local Government undertook a statutory review of the Cat Act 2011.

The executive summary of the report highlighted the confinement of cats to premises was a key theme of the feedback and that “consistency in the number of cats allowed per household and nuisance/wandering cats are areas where the Cat Act could be more effective.”

The report found “there is strong support for cat numbers and confinement/curfews of cats to be implemented state-wide (in legislation) rather than through individual local laws — to provide consistency among local governments.”

Echo News asked the state government why these findings of the 2019 review have not been actioned.

The new Local Government Minister Hannah Beazley’s office said the Cat Act 2011 already provided local governments with a range of powers to manage cats within their district.

“The Cook Government has a large animal welfare agenda – including the implementation of our legislation to stop puppy farming,” a spokesperson said.

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