Feral cats continue to plague shire

FERAL cats make up most of the animals surrendered to the Hindmarsh Shire Council every year, with 48 euthanised between July 2019 and July 2020.
Seventy-five cats were surrendered during that time and all kittens and friendly older cats were handed over to rescue groups to rehome.
According to Know Your Council data, only 26 percent of domestic and feral animals surrendered to the council were rehomed during 2018 to 2019.
It is a 10 percent decrease from the 2017 to 2018 period.
The number of animals being rehomed is 20 percent lower than other similar councils and is attributed to the high number of feral cats that cannot be rehomed.
Steven Nicholson, Local Laws Officer for Hindmarsh Shire Council said there are an “awful lot (of feral cats) in every town” in the shire.
He said so far this year, 35 feral cats have been caught with traps supplied by the council but that is lower than usual due to COVID-19.
“There are a lot more out there than what we see,” he said.
Mr Nicholson said there have been incidents where feral cats have attacked domestic animals and even entered into people’s homes.
Furthermore, the cats “wipe out little birds” and are destructive to small native animals.
Mr Nicholson said the council often has more luck rehoming dogs as they are usually microchipped and are able to be returned to their owners.
He estimates that 90 percent of cats in the area are not registered.
“We encourage people all the time,” he said.
The Hindmarsh Shire Council reviewed the Domestic Animal Management Plan (2017-2021) at the last council meeting in August.
Key issues included a high number of unregistered dogs and cats, dogs wandering at large and of course the high number of feral cats.
During the 2019 to 2020 financial year, the council issued 33 animal related fines.
Mr Nichlson said the council is endeavouring to reduce the number of animals euthanised by encouraging responsible pet ownership.
“We work pretty hard,” he said.

Subscribe to Dimboola Banner to read the full story.