Bass Coast Shire Council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-25 aims to foster safe and responsible pet ownership, and will see the implementation of a 24-hour cat containment order from 1 July, 2023.
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan said that the Plan was developed after a thorough community engagement process.
“One of the main issues identified through this process was the management of cats across the Shire,” Cr Whelan said.
“As part of the Plan, a 24-hour cat containment order will be implemented in Bass Coast from 1 July next year, which will mean that cats must be kept on their owners’ property at all times.
“It’s important to note that the curfew does not mean cats need to be confined indoors 24/7, however, if you plan to let your cat roam in your yard, you will need to effectively cat proof it, to keep your cat safe and secure.
“This order is being put in place to protect cats, as well as our local wildlife, and to reduce the issues that straying pets can cause in the community.
“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.”
The Plan includes measures to support cat owners to adjust to the new requirement to contain cats to their property.
“The roll out of this order will include an education campaign over the next 12 months, before it comes into effect,” Cr Whelan said.
“We appreciate this is a new rule for cat owners, so once it does come into effect, we won’t issue any fines for the first six months. Instead, the emphasis will be on assisting cat owners in adapting to the change.”
If you are a cat owner, there are some things that you can start preparing now, to create a suitable environment to keep your cat on your property.
“There are a few ways to contain your cat. You can keep them entirely indoors or allow your cat to roam indoors and outdoors while keeping them securely on your property,” Cr Whelan said.
“There are several options available to keep your cat secure and safe in your yard, such as cat proof fencing, cat rollers installed on fencing, or cat enclosures. There are many affordable commercial options available from hardware stores and pet suppliers,” Cr Whelan concluded.