Vigilantes taking the law into their own hands on domestic cats killing wildlife

AUSTRALIA NEWS AND VIEWS: In certain parts of Canberra, there are cat containment ordinances which makes it compulsory to keep cats inside but in other parts they are allowed outside. In one of these districts there is an individual who is acting as a vigilante in delivering threatening letters to their neighbours. A vigilante approach to preventing domestic cat predation is unhelpful.

“Lock up your cats.

Dear neighbour, your home is within 400m from my home where there is clear evidence of a cat(s) killing our native birds. I have set traps. Please lock up your cat day and night, permanently.

Save our precious native birds and animals.

Don’t say goodbye to your cats by letting them roam.

Your neighbour……”

Vigilante letter demanding that residents of a Canberra street lock up their cats or else
Image: ABC News.
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The ‘letter’ is both quite polite and ominously threatening. One of the recipients, Beth Morrison, said that she keeps her cats inside and that she felt threatened. She was unsure whether she was being specifically targeted but later discovered that the entire street had received it.

She felt that the person who wrote the letter has taken an over-the-top approach. The RSPCA would agree as they have warned residents of Canberra against a vigilante approach to enforcing cat containment. They don’t agree that threats of illegal trapping does the trick.

The RSPCA made it clear that residents need a permit to trap animals including on their property and that the animals that had been trapped must be handed to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter.

They have asked recipients of the letter to contact them to allow them to investigate further.

Beth Morrison supports cat containment policies and disagrees with this sort of vigilantism as she believes it polarises residents further. Her thoughts indicate that citizens of Canberra are already polarised on the concept of keeping cats indoors, full-time.

They would not be alone. The pressure on society to do something about wondering domestic cat is building as the problem grows because of human population growth which inevitably leads to more domestic cats. There are inevitably more stray cats too due to carelessness. Set this against the issue of humans damaging nature and wildlife causing threats of extinction of many species and you have polarisation and passionate views about how to prevent domestic cat predation.

Beth Morrison felt harassed. The person who wrote the letter is misguided if they believe they can get away with it. It’s impossible to get away with writing such a letter. It’s not going to work. It’s an idle threat which cannot be carried out. It must be the product of desperation and it often is. People who dislike domestic cats, especially those that roam around the neighbourhood, have strong feelings and they lose their rationality when dealing with the problem as they see it.

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