Fierce fines for felines

CAT owners who live near nature reserves could be hit with hefty fines if their feline friends are left to wander at night. 

Shoalhaven City Council last night considered instituting new no-cat restrictions in nature reserves around Sanctuary Point and St Georges Basin. 

Cats that were found in the restricted areas could be seized and their owners fined up to $330 for a first offence and $880 for subsequent offences. 

Basin View cat owner Tina Barnes said enforcing the new rules would be almost impossible.  

“I do see their point,” she said. 

“Just because I’m a cat owner doesn’t mean I’m anti-wildlife.” 

Ms Barnes’ cat Shadow is desexed and stays indoors at night and in five years had killed just one

native mouse.  

However, Wildlife Rescue volunteer Murray Quant thinks the fines don’t go far enough.

“I think that there should be a third strike rule, the cat should be put down and the owners banned from owning a cat again,” he said.

“I cannot tell you the damage cats do. Any cat that is outside or not under someone’s control we consider feral.”

The president of the Basin Village Forum, David Reynolds, said the point of the restriction was to raise awareness of the damage cats cause.

“Any pet owner knows they’re responsible for their animal,” he said.  

The minimum cost of new stickers and signage would be $431; although the council may install entirely new signs at a projected cost of $1136.

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