Tasmania has adopted a very honest approach to “cat shelters”. They call them “cat management facilities”. That does sound a bit dark and mysterious but it is a much better name because the word “shelter” is often wholly inappropriate as cats are often not sheltered at these places.
Cat management facilities are part of a general change in laws relating to the ownership and management of cats that came into force on 1st July 2012.
Essentially these laws inject some degree of regulation and control into cat ownership. I have been writing about this for a while. I tend to agree that some sort of control of cat ownership is beneficial to society and the cats because sadly there will always be a minority of people who are irresponsible or less than adequate in the care of their cat(s).
The laws are
- Cat Management Act 2009 and
- Cat Management Regulations 2012
In outline this legislation introduced the following:
Cat breeders must be registered – if not, it is an offence. I like that. An individual person can sell or give away a cat but the cat must be microchipped, neutered or spayed, wormed, vaccinated and be at least 8 weeks old.
Cat management facilities are the modern equivalent of cat shelters, receiving stray cats. At the facility, ownership of the rescued cat is established through the microchip and the cat returned. Unmicrochipped cats are held for 3 days, unreturned microchipped cats for 5 days. Failure to find the owner results in the cat being rehomed, sold or euthanised. That is honest, at least.
Compulsory neutering and spaying of cats is being phased in. At the moment, owners are encouraged to neuter and microchip their cats. When compulsory microchipping has been fully introduced a cat that finds his way to a cat management facility will not be released to his owner unless he is microchipped and neutered.
This is a link to a handout from the Tasmanian government: Cat ownership laws Tasmania 2012
So, you what do you make of it? It seems to be a nice balance between a bit of regulation to force the minority of less than good cat caretakers to sharpen up while maintaining some freedoms. Most Tasmanian cat owners will already have micrchipped and neutered/spayed their cats. They won’t be selling unfixed cats to neighbours or letting them breed and so on. The law won’t affect them. Registration of individual cats is not yet required at a national level although some local governments may require it. I suspect that registration of all cats may one day be phased in and that would be a big step and controversial one.