Cat owners will be required to securely confine their cats from sunset to sunrise starting from July 1.

At their May meeting, Hepburn Shire Council endorsed the introduction of an enforceable dusk to dawn cat curfew.

Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, said a cat curfew is a key action in Council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan, which was informed by community feedback.
“Throughout the community consultation there was strong support for a cat curfew, with 90% of the 450 respondents in support of a curfew,” said Cr Hood. “We know our community loves their pets. The curfew will help to reduce the risks associated with allowing cats to roam outdoors between dusk and dawn. Keeping cats indoors at night will reduce the chance of them breeding, fighting, becoming injured or killing wildlife.”

“Organisations including the RSPCA and the Cat Protection Society of Victoria are supportive of curfews and many Victorian councils have already introduced these types of curfew measures,” he said.

Council will be working closely with the community on enforcement of the cat curfew.  Reports from community members and a cat trapping program will form an important part of the enforcement process.  Community education will also be an important part of the campaign, along with increasing the rate of cat registrations.

From 1 July 2023 enforcement activities will commence, in line with the process already applied to wandering dogs. This will include:

  • Education for cat owners of their responsible pet ownership requirements,
  • Issuing Warnings and Notices to Comply where appropriate, and
  • Issuing Infringement Notices to offenders where appropriate. (The infringement penalty will be 1 Penalty Unit for first offence and 3 Penalty Units for second or subsequent offences. A penalty unit is currently $184.92.)

Asked about workforce implications, Council CEO Bradley Thomas said, “Resourcing of the community safety team to include some administration support means our Community Safety officers will be able to spend more time on enforcement and supporting the community.”

All cats over three months of age must be microchipped and registered. This is a requirement under the Domestic Animal Act. Registration is free for the first 12 months. If a cat is found wandering during curfew hours and it is not registered, owners will be required to register it before it is released.

The dusk until dawn curfew is a first step in the control of domestic cats. By 2025, owners will be required to contain cats at all times.

For more information on the curfew visit the Council website.

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