Why was the proposed local law amended and submission period extended?

    As required by legislation, a copy of the draft local law was provided to the Minister for local government. In response, officers from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries provided advice to the City that advised that significant amendments to the proposed local law were required and that those amendments would require the lawmaking process to recommence.

    The Department assists and monitors the process of making local laws and provides advice to local governments on the making of good local laws. They work closely with WA Local Government Association and the Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation of the Parliament to ensure that the proposed content of the local laws will be generally acceptable to all concerned.

    As a result of the feedback received from the Department, the City has made all of the recommended changes and they have been included in the draft Cat Management Local Law 2020

    To read more about the changes, click here to view the minutes from the Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee meeting of 22 January 2020, or visit https://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/council/agendas-and-minutes

    Why is Clontarf Hill not included in the proposed prohibited areas?

    Clontarf Hill is not under the City of Fremantle's management control. 

    Should the land be vested to the City in the future and retained as a natural area, then the City would also consider making this a Cat Prohibited Area under the Cat Management Local Law 2020, by means of an amendment to the local law.

    What happens to cats that are captured in cat prohibited areas?

    If any registered cat is captured in one of the proposed cat prohibited areas the owner would be committing an offence and subject to a fine.

    All trapped domestic cats are transported directly to Cat Haven, where they are scanned for a microchip and their owner is contacted for collection. The owner would be required to pay Cat Haven administration and holding costs.

    It is a legal requirement in Western Australia that all domestic cats over 6 months be sterilised, microchipped, wearing a tag in a public place and registered with their local government.

    If a cat is not microchipped or registered, the owner cannot be traced. After a period of time to allow the owner to come forward, Cat Haven will re-home domestic cats.

    If my cat is captured and it is microchipped, will I be notified?

    Yes, you will be contacted by Cat Haven.

    City of Fremantle contractors do not scan trapped cats for microchips because it is unsafe. As such, all trapped cats are transported to Cat Haven, who scan them for a microchip and will contact owners directly.

    I'm concerned about the welfare of trapped cats. Can you tell me more about the process?

    Trapping is undertaken by qualified and certified feral animal contractors in accordance with appropriate legislation and regulations, including the Animal Welfare Act. Under this Act, any mistreatment of cats may be an offence and is subject to prosecution.

    The type of trap used by City contractors is a cage trap with a pressure plate which causes the door to close. There are no baits or latching mechanisms on these traps. Lures may be used to attract animals, however these are not poisonous and will not harm them.

    Traps are set in the evening and checked first thing in the morning, and any cats which are found are transported directly to the Cat Haven. If it is outside of opening hours, contractors may hold trapped cats until the Cat Haven facility opens. Trapped cats are not held for long periods of time.

    How much is the fine for having a cat in a prohibited area?

    Under the proposed local law, the owner of a cat found in a prohibited area would be fined $200.

    Owners would also be required to pay Cat Haven administration and holding fees on collection, which currently total $25 a day.

    Owners should ensure that their cat is registered, microchipped, sterilised and has identification (collar and registration tag) in order to avoid any additional fines under the Cat Act 2011.

    How does this proposed local law help protect biodiversity and the welfare of cats?

    Roaming cats kill and disturb native wildlife and can cause a nuisance through spraying and fighting. They are also in danger of being hurt (by vehicles or by fighting) and may interact with wild populations and produce unwanted kittens. Prohibiting cats from certain natural areas and encouraging owners to be responsible for their cat's whereabouts can reduce the impact on local wildlife mortality and breeding, as well as keep domestic cats safe.

    Feral cats are a declared pest in Western Australia under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 Act. According to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, in WA 36 mammals, 22 bird and 11 reptile species are vulnerable to predation by feral cats and a wide range of other native animals are also adversely affected by feral cats. Australia-wide, feral cats have played a major role in the extinction of at least 27 mammal species and at present endanger 147 Australian mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs.

    By continuing to require owners with more than 3 cats to apply for a permit, the City can better manage cases which may not be a health hazard or require referral to the RSPCA, but where cats are present in such numbers that it is a nuisance to the community.

    By requiring catteries, cat management facilities and owners with more 3 cats to apply for a permit, certain basic conditions for cat welfare can be ensured (such as providing clean and sanitary conditions and appropriate space).

    Doesn't the City already have a trapping program?

    Yes. The City has an integrated vertebrate pest management program which includes management of foxes, feral cats and feral rabbits. Cat management (including trapping) commenced as part of this in October 2018, and the intention is for this program to continue.

    The proposed Cat Management Local Law may introduce additional trapping and a fine for registered cats found in the cat prohibited areas listed in Schedule 3. At the moment, these include:

    • Booyeembara Park

    • Sir Frederick Samson Park

    • Bathers Beach Reserve

    • Port Beach Reserve

    • Rocky Bay Reserve

    • Leighton Beach Reserve

    • South Beach Reserve

    • Cantonment Hill

    • North Fremantle Foreshore Reserve (including Prawn Bay)

    • The Royal Fremantle Golf Course

    • The Fremantle Public Golf Course

    • Hollis Park, Sandown Park and any other land within the boundary of the former South Fremantle landfill site

    Each of these areas may be trapped over 4 days, twice a year.

    At present, domestic cats captured under this program undergo the same process that would occur under the proposed new local law. Owners of domestic cats that are captured under the City’s current trapping program are not infringed for having a cat in a prohibited area, but are still required to pay Cat Haven fees and any applicable fines if their cat is not registered, microchipped, sterilised and wearing identification.

    I have more than three cats (over 6 months old) and don't have a permit, how will this affect me?

    The Health Local Laws 1997 already require you to apply to the City for an exemption to keep more than 3 cats. If you already have more than 3 registered cats but do not have a permit you may keep them, but if the local law is made you will not be able to add any more or substitute them without approval.

    How do I know if I am considered a cattery or cat management facility?

    Check the definitions under the proposed local law. Veterinary surgeries, pet shops and RSPCA refuges are specifically excluded.

    I operate a cattery or cat management facility, how will this affect me?

    You will be required to comply with the proposed new local law, including applying for a permit and meeting the applicable conditions. If you are a cat management facility already approved in writing by the City, you will not be required to obtain a new permit.