26 April 2019

Government considering charging Canberrans annual fees to register cats and dogs

| Glynis Quinlan
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ACT cats

ACT cats such as Pebbles from Kaleen (pictured) will have to be registered annually if the Government’s proposal goes ahead. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

The ACT Government is considering making both dog and cat owners register their pets annually and charging them a yearly fee for doing so.

The proposal – including what fees would be appropriate – has been canvassed through phone polling in Canberra in recent weeks and represents a radical change from the current situation where dog owners only have to pay for one lifetime registration and cats aren’t registered at all.

According to the Government, annual registrations for cats and dogs in other Australian jurisdictions range from around $30 – $60 per year but there is also the option of having no registration fee here.

The Government is currently consulting with the community through its YourSay website about a draft ACT cat plan which includes a proposal for cat registration.

The consultation runs until June 28, with one of the survey questions asking Canberrans about whether they would support or oppose cat registration as well as whether they would like to see cat containment throughout the ACT.

A spokeswoman for ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel said the issue of cat registration is currently just a matter for consultation and no decisions have been made.

“Registration may help provide better information about the number of pets that live in the ACT, including where they are housed and who owns them,” the spokeswoman said.

“It enables lost pets to be reunited with their owner more easily and more effective enforcement of laws like cat containment.”

The spokeswoman would not identify the amount the ACT Government was looking at for annual registrations, saying the Government would consider the outcome of community consultations.

“In other Australian jurisdictions, annual registrations range from around $30 – $60 per year for desexed and microchipped cats and dogs,” the spokeswoman said.

“An option that will be considered is that the registration process does not include a fee.”

The spokeswoman confirmed that the phone polling had taken place, saying it is one of the many tools used to gather community input.

“Pet registration was included in a recent round of research, and the results will be used to determine the Government’s position on pet registration,” she said.

About one-quarter of Canberra households currently own a cat and a move to register cats would have a significant impact.

A Better Suburbs Statement released by the ACT Government in September last year said a system for annual registration of dogs and cats would enable the establishment of a centralised government database to assist and enforce responsible pet ownership.

The statement also said that all new suburbs must be cat containment suburbs, and Transport Canberra and City Services should develop a planned roll-out of cat containment for Canberra’s older suburbs.

The draft cat plan which is currently out for consultation covers a range of issues including:

  • responsible pet ownership
  • reducing risks to human health
  • reducing impacts of feral cats
  • protecting wildlife from cat predation
  • managing unowned cats in public places
  • cat desexing
  • cat containment.

Canberrans looking to have their say on the plan are invited to:

The consultation process opened on 6 April and closes on 28 June.

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Keeping a dog as a pet provides the whole family with far more exercise and health benefits than cycling does and doesn’t cost the rest of the community jot. Pets keep people and the whole community sane and in touch with the world.

If the government needs revenue and a safer Canberra then require cyclists to register and insure their bicycles each year and be licenced.

Enough of taxing A to pay for B with BS arguments to justify it.

Graham Cooke5:21 pm 02 May 19

I oppose blanket cat containment. Would be open to a modest registration fee, possibly with exemptions for pensioners.

ChrisinTurner5:01 pm 02 May 19

It it contributes to a reduction in the loss of native birdlife by free-range and feral cats then I am in favour.

Following the survey on feline containment, the next stage is proceeding to interrogation and water-boarding.

What does Andrew Barr plan to do with cats whose owners refuse to pay? Euthanise them?

As much as I believe cat owners should be subject to the same requirements as dog owners, like containment and registration, this is nothing but yet another ACT Labour cash grab. Annual registration fees? Yeah, nah, I already paid lifetime registration. It will encourage people to not register their pets.

Having to register domestic animals is a joke in any case. At most, both dogs and cats should need to be contained within their owners property unless on a lead. Cat traps should be put in public parks and reserves and it should be expensive to get trapped cats or caught dogs back.

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