Council Votes Against 24-hour Cat Confinement

A notice of motion to rescind a 24-hour cat confinement order passed at the April council meeting has been successful at last night’s meeting.

Following a councillor vote, the City of Greater Geelong will maintain the existing cat curfew order enacted on 1 July 2009 requiring cat owners to keep their cats securely confined to their property between sunset and sunrise.

The proposed confinement order, which was due to come into effect on 1 November 2024, would have required owners to confine pet cats to their properties at all times, either inside the home, in a safe outdoor area or in a secure enclosure. Cats that leave the premises were to be restrained or in a cat carrier.

Councillor Melissa Cadwell moved to rescind the cat confinement order due to the financial burden on cat owners and the lack of detail on how the policy would affect cat owners living in rental accommodation.

Councillor Melissa Cadwell

The financial cost burden the policy would have imposed upon residents on low fixed incomes may have required them to give up their cat, which in many cases may be their only companion.

That’s not something I could support, particularly in a cost-of-living crisis.

There was a lack of detail in regard to how this would work for registered cat owners living in rental accommodation, given that there would have been a substantial investment on the part of the tenant to comply with the policy and still allow for their cat to have time outside.

Under the Victorian Domestic Animals Act 1994, Council officers can issue an infringement of $96-$385 to a cat owner whose cat is found roaming outside their premises during curfew hours. Repeat offenders face tougher penalties.

The notice of rescission was supported six votes to five, with councillors Harwood, Murrihy, Kontelj, Aitken, Hathway and Cadwell voting in favour of rescinding the order, and councillors Sullivan, Mason, Wilkinson, Nelson and Moloney voting against rescinding.

The City will take no further action on the proposed 24-hour confinement order.

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