Ballina cat plague splits Council

Ballina is suffering a plague of feral cats and wildlife is being decimated according to Ballina Shire councillors who spoke in favour of compulsory desexing of dogs and cats at last months Council meeting.

CatRescue has sent a letter to all councils in NSW asking for support as it gears up to lobby the Department of Local Government for mandatory desexing for all companion animals not registered for breeding.

A report to last weeks meeting recommended that Council not enter into the debate.

However, Cr Sharon Cadwallader moved an amendment that Council give its support to CatRescue. She was backed by Crs John Felsch and Peter Moore.

Cr Cadwallader said there used to be a family of 30 water dragons at her property on the Serpentine, but now it was down to just five.

We just find the heads and skins lying around, she said. We see wild cats all over the place around the North Wall, the CBD they are all over the shire. They make their nests around all the old retaining walls. You see them catching birds as they run across the park.

She said she knew of one person who was feeding the starving cats on a daily basis.

We have lots of people in the shire who actually feed cats so they dont attack the wildlife, she said. Meanwhile, animal shelters were over-loaded.

She said she agreed with CatRescues argument that compulsory desexing would save councils money they currently had to spend on managing, detaining and euthanasing hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals each year.

Cr Felsch said there was a plague of wild cats around Missingham Bridge and he had received phone call after phone call on the matter.

We should be seen to be supporting our wildlife, he said. We should bite the bullet and support this (CatRescue).

Cr Alan Brown called the amendment ridiculous and said he could not support it. He said the best way to get rid of wild cats and dogs from a property was with a shotgun.

Cr Keith Johnson said he had plenty of wild cats on his property and they did no harm to bird life. In fact there were benefits such as catching rats, he said.

Cr Margaret Howes said compulsory desexing would be highly unpopular with all the little old ladies in the shire who had cats.

In the end the amendment was defeated 4/3, and Council went on to vote as per the staff recommendation.

Outside the meeting Cr Cadwallader said it was not a politically popular thing to be moving for.

But I believe its responsible management, she said. We have got a problem.

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