Yarra Ranges Council in Victoria, Australia has ruled that cats will have to be kept on private properties at all times.The new law, which will be introduced in six months time, received overwhelming support in an online poll. Almost 60 per cent of 234 respondents were in favour of the 24-hour ban and another 39 per cent supported a night curfew.
Those who opposed the tougher laws said it was cruel to keep cats enclosed at all times. They also complained that the cost of outdoor enclosures would make pet ownership too expensive. Those in favour said cats should have the same restrictions as dogs and other pets, which cannot roam the streets unchecked. A council report said the curfew would reduce the chance of cats being run over, being injured in fights, catching feline AIDS or becoming lost.
Menzies Creek resident Anita Walker, a supporter of the curfew, said she believed it would never get through. ''But, I'm so ecstatic. I just couldn't believe it,'' she said. Ms Walker said she cats had been blamed for a decline in the lyrebird population in Sherbrooke Forest. ''If you have a guinea pig you keep it inside your property.
''Every other domestic animal has a bylaw, whether it is a cow or a sheep, to keep it on your property,'' she said. Some cat lovers have supported the curfew.
Tracy Godkin, of Catsville Boarding Cattery, Healesville, said people needed to be more responsible for their pets. ''I take them out on leads and things, but I don't let them free roam. [They stay healthy] if you give them a lot of things to play with and activity,'' she said. Yarra Ranges mayor Fiona McAllister said the challenge would be enforcing the changes.