Tweed pet owners are being encouraged to make their dogs and cats ‘wildlife friendly’ in a new campaign to stop the decimation of native fauna in the shire.
Tweed Shire Council is urging cat owners to keep their pet indoors in the new Wildlife Friendly Pets campaign, which aims to encourage responsible pet ownership through an online pledge, with a free dog leash and cat toys on offer for those involved.
Gold Coast City Council also recently launched a booklet on keeping cats contained (at http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/cat-safe-booklet.pdf), which Tweed council is helping to promote,
Tweed shire’s community support officer (natural resource management), Jude Mason, said the community could all take part in keeping both pets and native wildlife safe and happy.
‘We all love our pets and living in the Tweed means we get to share our backyards and open spaces with wonderful birds and animals like koalas,’ Ms Mason said.
‘Keeping your cat inside keeps it safe from cars, dogs, ticks and snakes, as well as injuries from fighting with other cats, this means no costly visits to the vet, and you can continue to share your backyard with birds.
‘Some cat owners might be surprised to know that, with the right environment most cats are happy to be kept indoors.
‘There are some great cat enclosures available now and lots of information around about cat safe fencing. Just by modifying existing fencing to make it ‘cat proof’ you can give your cat free access to parts of – or all of – your yard,.
‘The Tweed Valley has some beautiful places where you and your dog can enjoy walking together. Our bushland provides homes for many animals, like koalas and wallabies, and if you keep your dog on a lead when walking in bushland areas and avoid areas where dogs are not allowed, our kids and grandkids will also be able to experience these amazing animals in the future.
‘These are some really simple things we can do to make sure our pets and wildlife are kept safe. Acting responsibly keeps your pets happy and creates good relations with your neighbours, as well as promoting wildlife protection,’ Ms Mason said.
To make a pledge to be wildlife friendly before 30 September and receive a free dog leash or cat toy, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/WildlifeFriendlyPets
A maximum of 200 dog gifts and 200 cat gifts are available.
The move follows adoption of a report by Tweed council recently which recommended a local cat management plan.
Mayor Gary Bagnall last year called for the report, which gave a summary of current research on the interactions between cats (domestic, strays and feral) and native wildlife on the eastern seaboard, and some of the measures successfully employed by other Australian councils to reduce their impacts.
Tweed shire currently has cat bans at the Tweed Coast residential estates of Koala Beach and Black Rocks under local development control plans, as do several Victorian councils.
Other control measures include areas of Pottsville Waters where cats have to be confined to the owner’s property at all times (unless under the control of a leash).
There are also cat curfew (dawn to dusk) covenants on titles at Seabreeze estate and some sections of Casuarina estate.
But council staff say that ‘due to the multiple, different types of development controls for new estates these controls have been difficult to enforce’.