Trapping Outdoor Cats

The domestic animal control regulations of the state of Victoria, Australia, although well intentioned can have some distressing consequences. They need refining or their application needs refining.

Domestic Cat Trapping

Domestic Cat Trapping. Can’t let the cat out unless he is microchipped. Picture purchased from iStockphoto and words added by Michael.

The State of Victoria, Australia has some pretty advanced law concerned with the keeping of domestic cats and dogs. The law has been around since 1994. I am referring to the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

Under the Act cat owners must register their cats with the local council and also identify their cats with a microchip. A cat has to be microchipped before it can be registered.

These key requirements are very important and are an attempt to manage the stray cat population of Victoria. The state has grasped the nettle and done something quite radical to reduce the stray cat population.

By registering and identifying all cats, irresponsible cat owners are forced to be responsible. Stray cats can be picked up and returned to their owners. This is about managing cats better in the community.

I like that but the Act can have some nasty consequences. The law allows people to trap a cat that has wandered onto their land.

“If a dog or cat has been present on private property on more than one occasion without the permission of the owner or occupier of the property, the owner or occupier of private property or an authorised officer may seize the dog or cat while it is present on the property.”

This is dangerous for the cat and potentially very upsetting for the cat’s caretaker. This is because not everyone has microchipped and registered their cat. The uptake in compliance is probably slow even though the regulations have been around for a long time.

If a cat is not microchipped he should not be let outside. If he is let out and he wanders onto someone’s private property he can trapped, taken to the pound and promptly killed. It does not matter if the cat is obviously a domestic cat and “owned” by a person.

That happened to a cat named “Bubba” who was owned by Dean Nicholson. Bubba was rescued by Dean 15 years ago. Dean obviously was at fault in not complying with the law but his cat was loved and well cared for, his cat had a collar and an ear tattoo clearly indicating ownership. Ear tattoo identifications are probably better than microchips as they are safer. Microchipping is not 100% safe. The chips can move and cause cancer.

The Bubba case is an example of how the rules can be applied in a heavy handed and cruel way. Also it seems that people who don’t like cats can abuse the system by trapping cats with bait as if they were trapping a wild animal. These people will know that if the cat is not microchipped he or she will be euthanised. It is a legal way of killing cats in Victoria, Australia.

After trapping the cat has to picked up by the local authority’s animal control officers and taken to the pound. If the cat cannot be identified the cat is put down. There you have it. Incidentally the people who killed Bubba made the excuse that the cat was “diseased”. This according to Dean was untrue. He was healthy.

Refining the Law

Why was the tattoo identification ignored? Isn’t there a database in Victoria or Australia of tattoo ID numbers? I would have thought under these circumstances the person who trapped Bubba had a duty to find the owner. The law should be changed to accommodate that.

Where the cat trapped is obviously a domestic cat the person trapping the cat should have a duty to at least try and find the owner if the cat does not have an ID in the form of a microchip some other method. There should be some room for the exercise of discretion to modify the harshness of this legislation.


Is this a good or bad thing? Clearly the killing of a much loved cat is very bad but is the law bad? Should the USA introduce similar rules?

Facebook Discussion

Comments

Trapping Outdoor Cats — 11 Comments

  1. Unfortunately alot of people who work for animal control are nasty people and don’t give a damn. Or so it would seem. Of course they can do lots of things but they dont because they dont care. For as long as they dont care there will always be bad things happening. I think the laws seem ok, but not the one about trapping cats on ones own land. For the last time if you dont like cats then dont live near them. Accept the fact the many people have cats and that is a part of living near many people. If you can’t stand a cat on your land then sod off and buy some land away from society so you dont get things you dont like about society bothering you. So the trapping law is bad – there should be an extension to the microchip law stating some reasonable effort should be made to read the address of phone number on the damn collar or look for tattoos. People who can’t tolerate things should go and live together and their intolerance. They are anyway fighting a losing battle. Soon they wont be allowed to do anything and more people will care and they will have to deal with it or break the law and hope to get away with it. Australia has some fairly crappy attitudes towards cats in some places and I’m sure, just like with all these newer westernised countries, there is alot of intolerance and arrogance self perpetuated by lack of responsibility but I guess thats all about younger countries damn well growing up. For some reason Australia is another country with a massive feral cat problem – and those laws are at least a try but need fine tuning to be more realistic. But the problem should also be tackled with education from a young age and a general sense of respect for animals. Really and truly though, it’s about parents and children. Until parents are, on average, decent and responsible, in a country, the children can’t be. The Swiss are so responsible they are boring – or so the joke goes – but its not because they are necessarily taught to be in school, it’s just because thats how people are here on average for whatever reason, thats how it’s ended up. So there are no problems of feral cats, irresponsible pet ownership, and there are good laws which are consantly under consideration for possible updating in the context of managing what small problems there are so they dont become widespread or serious. So although education is key, laws are important and so on, upbringing is number one when it comes to the mechanics of positive change with regard to issues in society – and thats based on what the average person in the area concerned, is like.

  2. Hi Michael,

    Disturbing outcome in the case of Bubba. Unfortunately it could happen to a lot of cats in the area. That’s a problem.

    I kind of wonder about the true intent behind that part of the law – where they have to be microchipped and registered.

    Who is it supposed to help?

    It doesn’t help the cats who haven’t been microchipped such as domestic cats and feral cats. It doesn’t help cat parents who haven’t microchipped their cats.

    Is it realistic to think that the majority of cat parents will microchip and register their cats?

    Don’t quite a few cat parents keep their cats indoors? The same would have no reason to microchip or register their cats, would they?

    I think the flaw is in who the law serves and the practical details of the law.

    While I appreciate the effort, you’ve pointed out the glaring flaw – any cat who isn’t microchipped can be put to death. They should at least tweak that part or they’ll continue to see Bubba incidents and feral cats put to death.

    Poor Bubba.

    Perhaps they should look into spaying and neutering requirements with the exception of registered breeders?

    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=

    • “Is it realistic to think that the majority of cat parents will microchip and register their cats?”.

      I think this is the key part. How do you enforce this law? Years can go by and people don’t comply with it putting their cats at risk if they go out. The idea behind the law I believe is to inject some control over the stray cat problem much like the feral cat problem in the US. The Autralians dislike stray cats more than anyone else and I guess the warm climate encourages breeding. I personally applaud the effort to tackle the “problem” but I am not sure it can work and it can go wrong.

  3. Licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem. If cats are required to be licensed then cat-lovers just stop putting collars on their cats, as they did by me. And they won’t even bother getting them micro-chipped, especially not that They want absolutely nothing that can hold them legally responsible, liable, and accountable for the actions of their cats. It’s why many of them even keep cats in the first place. We’re not talking about the topmost responsible citizens of the world, you know. They don’t want that responsibility of what their cat has done coming back on them. If they had even one iota of a sense of responsibility and respect for all other lives on this planet we wouldn’t even be having these discussions.

    On the other hand, I found something that DOES work, and works well, and works fast ALL_ their cats are humanely shot on sight and buried whenever found away from supervised confinement.

    The ONLY thing that works is destroying any of their cats found outdoors off their property. They either learn to stop getting more cats that die under the wheels of cars or from animal attacks, or they finally learn how to be a responsible pet owner, respectful neighbor, and learn to keep their invasive species animal under confined supervision, as it should be.


    Note from Admin. I have deleted some of this because other decent visitors are upset by the sort of things you write. Plus you have made your point clear in the first half of your comment.

    • I know you are Woodsman or one of that group. Killing cats by shooting at them is illegal. You say it isn’t. You are wrong. It is cruel. However, I agree there are a lot of irresponsible cat owners. They need to be educated to be more responsible. So do you. It is equally irresponsible to shoot cats as it pleases you. This is barbaric. I think, perhaps, you are beyond requiring education. I think you need punishing very firmly indeed.

    • Try living in the forest away from society Woody. Then you won’t have the problems that society seems to cause you. It is starting to look like you enjoy the whole thing actually, otherwise you would have done something to actually solve it for once and for all.

  4. You morons just don’t get it do you. I DO live in a remote rural area. Population density is less than 1 person per square kilometer.

    AND I HAVE DONE SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Solved the problem 100%! The cat problem has not recurred for 3 years now.

    By shooting and burying HUNDREDS of your cats in only 2 seasons! And the cat-problem will NEVER happen again as long as I shoot on first sight, A.S.A.P. So that one cat doesn’t attract more and turn into hundreds again in no time.

    Do you honestly think that you dumping cats all over the planet and telling others that it’s okay to let them roam free makes them only an urban problem? They are DESTROYING EVERY HABITAT WITHIN WHICH THEY ARE FOUND! Even in the most remote areas of earth. Unless of course, responsible, intelligent, and wise people shoot & bury them all. Because that is the ONLY method that is faster than their breeding rates and ability to out-adapt to any trapping method used to date. As well as the ONLY way to stop them from annihilating all the native wildlife and spreading their deadly diseases any further. Their over-breeding, their deadly diseases, their invasive species predation on native species, their out-competing native predators’ food sources — ALL STOPPED INSTANTLY FOR THE COST OF *ONE* BULLET EACH.

    Trying to trap them all has CAUSED the problem. NOT SOLVED IT, you astoundingly stupid FREAKS.

    Now I’m letting the rest of you phenomenally foolish morons know of the _*ONLY*_ method that actually works!

  5. You can look at it this way …. it took me 2 hunting seasons to get rid of every last stray cat on my land, feral, pet, it mattered not. This was done through relentless vigilance and accuracy. I realized that the ONLY way to prevent this from ever happening again was to apply the very same techniques now to those that had caused this local ecological disaster in the first place. To stop them, for myself and everyone else that has been tormented in life by people just like YOU mindless TNR advocates. I’m not going away until every last person that advocates the release of invasive-species cats has been stopped from practicing their criminally-irresponsible behavior. You can count on that!

    • You know what amazes me about you. You rely on me to publish your comment. Yet at the same time your comment insults me. Do you think I should publish your comment? It is clearly you who is mindless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.