Auckland Council bylaw looks at chooks, cats

23:35, Jul 22 2014

Some Auckland urban residents look set to have the number of chickens they can own without council permission halved.

The poultry move is included in a proposed animal management bylaw which aims to set consistent rules across the whole of the amalgamated supercity.

Those rules include restricting the number of chickens people can own without a licence to six in urban areas.

That would halve the number of unlicensed chickens urban residents of the former Franklin, Manukau, Papakura and Rodney councils have been allowed to keep.

Urban residents wanting to keep between seven and 12 chickens, or any other kind of stock, would need a licence from the council. Resource consent would be needed to keep more than a dozen chickens in a residential area.

When it comes to the vexed issue of cat control, the council is stepping gingerly.

The issue of cat predation was highly sensitive and further investigation was needed to find out the extent to which domestic and stray cats may be preying on wildlife, particularly in parks, a report to the council said.

It would be best to include cat predation in a review under way in to the regional pest management plan, or as a separate strategy.

"Premature discussion of a wider strategy on cat predation is likely to raise public debate around cat registration, mandatory cat de-sexing, cat curfews, and prohibited cat zones which may result in unnecessary negative public reaction," policy analyst Emma Pilkington said in a memo to yesterday's meeting of the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee.

Councillors had also asked about the possibility of the council doing more cat management.

Already around $150,000 a year was spent on operating a cat shelter in Henderson, Pilkington said.
Upgrading that facility and three other dog management facilities to also cater for cats would cost an estimated $5 million.

Annual running costs for each facility would be a $250,000, or $1m in total. That option was not recommended.

The proposed animal management bylaw is due to go to a meeting of the council Governing Body next week, after which it is expected to go out for public consultation.

The bylaw also covers bees, horse riding, pest management, and wild birds.