A suburban Adelaide mayor has rejected suggestions that leashes would be mandatory under a crack down on stray cats, but Campbelltown City Council Mayor Jill Whittaker conceded that leashes would be one option available to owners when new restrictions on cat movements came into effect, which would ban cats moving freely outside.
Ms Whittaker said that a cat curfew would apply at night, while other controls would be in effect during the day.
The changes will take place next year - cats will be expected to be contained or indoors overnight, she told ABC Radio Adelaide.
The council has been considering a proposed cat by-law for several years.
Ms Whittaker said recent population growth in Adelaide's north-east had prompted the council to push ahead with the plan.
She said that we have got many more houses, and we have got many more people who are not wanting cats to come onto their property.
They want to be able to grow vegetables without the diseases that come from neighbouring cats. Ms Whittaker said the measure was intended to protect native wildlife and stop roaming cats from being hit by cars.
She rejected online claims that leashes would be mandatory.
She said that this is one of the biggest furphies that have been in this whole debate, that we are saying they have to be on a leash.
Some people already have a leash, and they will use it. Councillor Therese Britton-La Salle opposed the move, saying native birds and other animals came from feral cats, not desexed, home-grown cats. Our residents in Campbelltown are responsible cat owners and have been doing the right thing. Ms Britton-La Salle said there had been only a negligible number of complaints.
There's no justification to bring in the proposed cat by-law, she said.
In 2019 -- 20 there were only eight complaints to the council about cats and only 10 were received in 2020 -- 21. But Ms Whittaker said she was aware of many informal complaints, and a resident survey showed 70 per cent of respondents supported the changes.