Rudman comes good

? NZherald.co.nz

Brian Rudman gives up going on the bludge for a theatre to hammer home the inconsistency of dog licenses without taxing cat owners.

In Queensland, the state Government recently introduced compulsory registration of cats – with a microchip and identification collar – to try to reduce the need for tens of thousands of strays to be put down each year and to help protect the local wildlife. With the Northern Territory, it was the last part of Australia without compulsory registration of cats and dogs.

The annual non-desexed cat fee is A$43.40 ($55.12), the desexed fee, half that. Pensioners pay half. Dog charges are double, with a dangerous-dog fee of A$454. There is debate about mandatory desexing as the next move.

The New South Wales Companion Animals Act came into effect in September 1998, introducing a permanent identification and lifetime registration system. The Government argued it greatly assisted authorities in returning lost and injured animals to their owners and provided councils with a more effective means of keeping track of dogs and cats for the benefit of the wider community.

In New South Wales, the one-time charge for registering a desexed animal is A$40, (pensioners A$15), a non-desexed animal, A$150.

There’s little doubt that a reduction in the number of stray cats would be welcome news to the birds and lizards and weta of Auckland, to say nothing of the shopkeepers and residents near the colonies of feral cats around the town. But somehow it seems unlikely that Auckland councillors are “entire” enough, to use the clinical term, to stand up to a snarl from cat-loving voters. Not after a woof from the doggie set was enough to sent them whimpering off.

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