Mandurah council moves to strengthen cat ownership laws

The City of Mandurah is cracking down on cat ownership with the creation of a new local law after dozens of endangered birds were killed last year.

A cat was euthanised by the City after it was believed to have killed more than 40 fairy terns within a sanctuary on Breakwater Parade in December 2018.

On Tuesday, councillors moved unanimously to support the Cat Local Law 2019, which promises to assist the city in effectively controlling cats.

The local law will have a six-week public consultation period.

Only 3587 cats are registered in Mandurah, out of more than 14,000, according to the city's data

Only 3587 cats are registered in Mandurah, out of more than 14,000, according to the city's data.

City of Mandurah manager of statutory services Brendan Ingle said this low level of compliance was consistent across other West Australian local governments.

"Low rates of compliance with rates of identification and sterilisation represent the greatest challenge to the effectiveness of any cat related legislation," he said in the recommendation.

City of Mandurah deputy mayor Caroline Knight, who is also chair of not-for-profit environmental group Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, led the charge in introducing the new law.

In January, a working group was created to review the city's management of cats and identify opportunities to reduce the impact the animal has on native fauna species.

The working group consisted of city councillors and representatives from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group and the Mandurah Environmental Advisory Group.

Under the new law, residents will be required to obtain a permit to own more than two cats.

Owners will be fined $200 if their cat causes a nuisance, is in a prohibited area, for failing to hold a permit when required and for breaching a permit condition.

Cats will be prohibited from the fairy tern sanctuary on Breakwater Parade in Mandurah, the Dawesville Reserve, Marlee Reserve in Parklands and the Warrungup Spring Reserve.

Cr Knight moved and councillor Darren Lee seconded the motion.

Cr Knight said the creation of the cat law involved balancing the welfare of the cats, as recommended by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and the welfare of animals and birds.

Cr Knight said the act was to encourage responsible pet ownership and increase the number of cat registrations.

"It will also provide a safe space space for fairy terns, without the threat or destruction of cats," she said.