Media response - cat containment enforcement

Published on 11 December 2020

Response to the ABC.

  • Yesterday you [Mayor] told Ali Clarke on ABC Radio Adelaide that councils did not have the power to “police” or “enforce” confinement by-laws it might implement under the Dog and Cat Management Act. For an online story I’m writing this morning, are you able to elaborate further on what you are referring to?  For example, the Dog and Cat Management Act does allow councils to make confinement by-laws, but are you saying that if a council imposes a fine, an individual cannot be forced to pay, or are you saying it’s ultimately up to the Board to allow or deny a council’s intended by-law? Why can’t these by-laws be enforced by councils?

Comments attributed to Mayor Erin Thompson

It was great to hear Minister Speirs confirm there should be state wide laws and commit to a review of the Dog and Cat Management Act.

While it is possible for councils to implement bylaws on this issue, the issue is how to enforce them.

The Dog and Cat Management Act makes limited provisions for cats.

  • There is no offence for a cat wandering at large, and
  • There are no powers to seize an owned cat (except for circumstances that are not relevant to council, being a cat in a National Park)
  • And subsequently, the Act doesn’t contemplate the detention of owned cats, their return or disposal

We need unified action and the technical expertise of the Dog and Cat Management Board which is resourced by Councils.

We contributed over $320,000 to the Dog and Cat Management Board last financial year (one-quarter of every dollar we collect from registration income) and given that 68 councils contribute to this fund, we believe this should be responded to centrally with a state-wide approach to cat management.

The Minister says this shouldn’t stop councils making by-laws, however the by-law making process takes at least 12 months (two years for City of Marion before it was disallowed), will cost between $18-28K and would in all likelihood become obsolete once the Act is amended. 

The Act is due for review and the State should lead any amendments to the Act in relation to cats.