For the first time, the Waitaki District Council is looking at capping the number of cats people can have.
Next year, residents could be restricted to owning three cats if the current draft Waitaki district general bylaw 2017 is approved in its current form in December.
This week, the council’s customer services committee recommended the council approve a June 26 to July 26 consultation period for the bylaw.
In the draft bylaw tabled this week, the initial recommendation was for two companion cats per rateable property.
But Waitaki deputy mayor Melanie Tavendale, who is the committee chairwoman, said the committee had increased the proposed number of companion cats allowed on a rateable property from two to three and still she expected the restriction on cat ownership would be “very contentious”.
The 2006 general bylaw, which this draft bylaw will replace, is silent on cats.
“I think that we recognise as a council that there are a lot of issues around cats, and public safety and being responsible cat owners, but we’re also not wanting to go really extreme on how that affects cat owners,” Cr Tavendale said.
“We’re wanting to indicate a general direction of council, that we want people to take a bit more responsibility for their animals. But a number of us feel that two cats would be too restrictive the way that people currently operate.
“We don’t want to see a massive change; we just want to start a better conversation with the community,” she said.
“Council staff receive complaints from time to time about excessive cat populations and stray and feral cats causing nuisance effects,” the committee’s report reads.
The new draft bylaw notes many people view their cats as “part of the family”.
A proposed “no roosters clause” for urban areas was challenged at the Wednesday meeting by the Oamaru Poultry Society, but the committee added a recommendation to enter into correspondence with the group.
“The discussions around the roosters could change,” Cr Tavendale said.
Otago Daily Times