Cat rego fees paid by 594

A TOTAL of 594 cats in Ipswich have been registered in the three weeks since a new animal management act was introduced.

The State Government's legislation made cat registration compulsory and imposed severe fines for non-compliance.

Ipswich City Council's health and regulation committee chairman, Councillor Andrew Antoniolli, said the council would not be adopting a “jackboot mentality” towards cat owners.

“It's going to take a couple of years before we start to see a high percentage of registrations,” he said.

“We see the first year as educating and promoting the benefits of registration.

“The big benefit is, if a cat ends up in the pound, there's a good chance the owners will get their cat back.

“And potentially without an impoundment fee.

“There are a lot of cats out there unregistered.

“It will take five years to have a substantial number of cats registered.”

The legislation allows for a moratorium of three months for owners to register their cats before enforcement begins.

“We're taking a responsible and reasonable approach,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“Our goal in the first year was registration of about 10 per cent of the cat population.”

Cr Antoniolli said people immediately expecting a significant drop in the number of cats euthanased at the pound would be sorely disappointed.

In time, the council hopes the Animal Management (Cats & Dogs) Act 2008 will improve the rate of identification of cats and dogs, thereby reducing euthanasia rates.

The new law provides for cats to be microchipped when sold or when ownership is transferred.

“People could be faced with a $200 on-the-spot fine for keeping an unregistered cat or dog, plus the registration fees,” Cr Antoniolli said.

Council charges registration fees of $20 for a cat - reduced to $12 for pensioners.

Fees are used to subsidise the animal management program which includes pound staff and vehicles, and the registration system database.

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