Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri wants steep registration fees to tackle the problem of feral cats. Picture: Simon Chillingworth
Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri wants steep registration fees to tackle the problem of feral cats. Picture: Simon Chillingworth

Make cats too expensive to own, says Greens politician

CAT owners could be charged high registration fees to deter ownership and fund a crackdown on roaming and feral felines if a Brisbane City councillor has his way.

Greens Councillor Jonathan Sri, from The Gabba ward, raised the issue in a council meeting.

"Being a greenie I have a lot of concern about cats and their ­predation on native wildlife," he said.

"Council should be introducing a registration fee for cats that's quite high, perhaps high enough to discourage a lot of people from owning cats."

Brisbane and Ipswich City Council, unlike Moreton Bay, Logan and Redland councils, do not require cats to be registered.

Registration for a non-desexed cat is $74 in Moreton Bay, $149 in Logan, and $80.90 in Redland.

A Brisbane City Council spokeswoman said it received 540 feral cat complaints in 2016/17.

There were 909 captured in the same period.

This financial year the council has received 335 complaints and captured 387 feral cats.

Cr Sri said high fees would show potential owners cats were "a serious responsibility" and that it was illegal to let them roam.

"It's … a bit concerning to me that we (the council) don't seem to enforce that quite as often as perhaps we could," Cr Sri said.

He said the fee should cover the cost of enforcing registration, and roaming cats laws, and act as an offset to counter the animals' "significant" detrimental impact on wildlife.

West End's Ruby Ludski was surprised to discover she did not need to register her cat. She believed it should be the standard.

"I think it's something people accept to do for dogs, but they can be quite blasé about cats. I've had friends who've had to adopt cats when their neighbours have left them behind or stopped feeding them," she said.

Brisbane City Lifestyle chairman Matthew Bourke said mandatory cat registration was removed by the State Government, but all cats and dogs must be microchipped before sale.

Little Paws Kitten Rescue Association foster carer co-ordinator Jenny Gordon said cat registration did not benefit owners.

"Rather than costly registration, microchipping of every cat should be mandatory at the time of desexing, and every cat should be desexed as soon as is safe to do so to stop unwanted kittens, unless you are a registered breeder," she said.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty also called for mandatory desexing to fix the "massive problem" of feral cats. A spokesman for Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said mandatory desexing was considered for the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 "but not included due to the impracticality of enforcing such requirements".

Councils were free to pass their own local laws on mandatory desexing for pets.

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