Owners of nuisance cats face restriction

The Invercargill City Council has drafted a bylaw that, if introduced, will restrict the number of cats to three in each house where felines are causing a nuisance in the neighbourhood. 

The draft Keeping of Animals Bylaw, prepared by council planner Melissa Short, was approved for the initial consultation with key stakeholders when it was discussed at yesterday's council regulatory committee meeting.

The public will now be asked for comments on the bylaw before the council makes a final decision next year.

The draft bylaw follows the council announcement in May that it was considering putting a limit on the number of cats allowed in each household in the city. This move was prompted when several people complained about neighbours owning numerous cats which were pooing all over their properties and bullying their pets.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said in May he preferred a limit being put on the number of cats allowed in each household. But the draft bylaw unveiled by council staff yesterday does not go that far.

Ms Short said if the council approved the bylaw after the public consultation process next year, the three-cat limit would only apply to households where complaints about cats on those sections were found to be justified, and the cat owners failed to fix the problem.

The draft bylaw also says no households will be allowed to keep pigs or roosters if they are found to be causing a nuisance, or bees if they are likely to become dangerous.

It also says the council will be able to impose a limit on the number of livestock and poultry on each city property, if animals on those properties are creating a nuisance, while no person will be able to slaughter livestock in the urban area.

The budgeted cost of implementing and enforcing the bylaw would be $30,000 in 2013-14, the council report says, with a further $30,000 required for the first six months to cover education and a spike in complaints.

The council's planning and environmental services director, Pamela Gare, said the bylaw, if introduced, would give the council teeth to take action if animals were causing a nuisance in their neighbourhoods.

Maximum fines of $20,000 would be issued to people who breached the bylaw, the council report says.

The Southland Times