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Canberra’s cats: Pets or Pests? Briony Papps Conservation Council ACT Region

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Presentation on theme: "Canberra’s cats: Pets or Pests? Briony Papps Conservation Council ACT Region"— Presentation transcript:

1 Canberra’s cats: Pets or Pests? Briony Papps Conservation Council ACT Region

2 Who are we? The Conservation Council ACT Region is a peak body representing environmental groups whose mission is to achieve the highest quality environment for the Canberra region. We do this through advocacy, campaigning and community engagement with the aim of working to achieve a better future for the ACT’s environment. We are non-profit, non-government organisation and our Member Groups represent over 15,000 people.

3 Our cat containment program Objectives Build community awareness about cat containment -expand the concept of what it means to be a responsible cat owner Encourage behaviour change in cat owners - more residents taking action to contain their cats Reduce impacts of roaming domestic cats on native wildlife (threatened and non threatened species) Ensure that future cat containment declarations are made in a timely manner for all new urban development areas within one kilometre of nature reserves A forward declaration for all of Canberra to become cat containment by 2025 ACT Government support and funding for ongoing community public education on cat containment in the ACT.


5 Postcard distribution Delivered to 68, 116 households in mid November 2014 Delivered to suburbs identified as high priority due to their proximity to habitat for threatened species vulnerable to cat predation Was not sent to existing cat containment suburbs (except for residents living at ‘The Fair’ in Watson)

6 RSPCA Pet Expo 2014 Approximately 3,000 came to event Presentation on issue of roaming cats and benefits of containment Received many messages of support, mainly from cat owners with containment stories to share

7 ”The cat enclosure DIY session at Bunnings was great - maybe more could be held as they're a great way to care for your cat and native wildlife” Bunnings DIY workshops 2014

8 Media coverage Since October 2014: Canberra Times City News The Chronicle Canberra Weekly ABC Online Government News The Riot ACT ABC News Canberra 7:30 Report ACT Lateline ABC 666 Radio National 2CC

9 Canberra Times, Friday 5 December 2014

10 Social media Weekly ‘Fursday’ facebook posts – Conservation Council ACT Region Regular tweets - #ContainYourCat #PetsnotPests @ConservationACT

11 Community response Overwhelmingly positive Reflective of 2011 telephone survey that showed that 91% of ACT residents recognize the benefits of cat containment No negative correspondence received as a result of letterboxing nearly 70,000 households but did receive emails of support Calls to Canberra Connect have been minimal Response to media largely positive – one negative Facebook comment and more than 250 likes, shares and comments Cat owners biggest supporters of cat containment Common sentiment that 10 year lead time for Canberra-wide declaration is too long

12 “It’s a no-brainer. Keep your cats indoors people. No killing wildlife, going missing, getting injured in fights, catching diseases. There is absolutely NO reason why cats should be allowed to roam outside” “I am an avid cat lover, that changed my thinking about what a responsible pet owner looks like. I now contain my cats” “This is a great initiative, make it Canberra-wide “I love cats and I think it’s best for all parties involved if cats are contained... If they enforced a state wide cat containment rule across the ACT, I’d be in favour of it” “… Other pets are not allowed to roam the streets freely and I don’t see why cats should be allowed to, particular when they are a major threat to wildlife”

13 Implementation of cat containment in Canberra Minister Rattenbury can declare cat containment areas under Domestic Animals Act 2000 if satisfied that cats pose a serious threat to flora and fauna of the area There has been little strategic action to implement cat containment areas in new urban development areas despite this being ACT Government policy, ACT Greens policy and with a Green’s Minister with capacity for making declarations Molonglo and Gungahlin environmental assessments both commit to cat containment in all new urban development areas as part of the conditions of approval for development Different suburbs are being declared at different stages of development, in some cases, once land sales have already commenced These new urban development areas should be declared – not suburb by suburb, but through a strategic overarching declaration which makes it clear to the community and future buyers once and for all, that all future urban areas near nature reserves are cat containment areas and cat owners have legal obligations to consider before they purchase.

14 Upcoming events World Wetlands Day Sunday 1 st Feb, 10 – 2pm at Jerrabomberra Wetlands Bunnings Belconnen DIY cat enclosure workshop Thursday 26 th Feb, 6:30 – 7:30pm Being an effective voice for the environment Symposium– Saturday 28 March More info at or email

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