Invercargill Crazy Cat Lady hits the end of the line

Some other crazy cat lady

Some other crazy cat lady

You may recall last year’s non-political drama of the Invercargill council trying to compel a lady to get rid of some of her thirty-plus cats.  It got ugly, with a run-in with a 3 News camera crew at one point.

Well, it seems the legal channels have been followed, and for once common sense was allowed to win.  For now.

Neighbours say the problems began when Averil  Gardiner moved in three-and-a-half years ago.

“There were faeces on the lawn, spraying around the property,” says neighbour Katrina Robertson.

“There is cat poo on our lawn almost daily that I’ve had to pick up, and along with the cat poo there are flies,” says neighbour Rachel Webber.

“They’re just roaming around your house and you don’t know what they’re going to do, and they eat the cat food,” says neighbour Tracy Cunliffe.

Gardiner installed mesh netting and some fencing around her property, but neighbours say that didn’t stop the cats from roaming.

Neighbours sent a group letter of complaint to Gardiner, saying their lawns were being used as toilets, meaning children couldn’t play outside. Cats were digging up their gardens, forcing them to be wood-chipped, and the animals were spraying on barbeques and picnic tables.

[Averil Gardiner] was fined $1400… [and] ordered [the] cat lover to “face the facts” and get rid of all but three of her 25 cats following a two day trial at the Invercargill District Court.

[She] was … found guilty of allowing her animals to create a nuisance and breaching a council bylaw which restricts locals to owning just three felines.

The news is a victory for a group of frustrated locals who have been at war with the woman for years over her collection of animals, which regularly left faeces on local lawns and invaded their houses. Gardiner was ordered to comply with the council bylaw within 21 days, fined $400 and ordered to pay $260 in court costs and $750 in solicitor’s costs.

Judge David Saunders told the woman the time had come for “reality to sink in”.

“You need to comply with the bylaw, you need to take action or else you will be facing significant costs above what I have imposed today,” he said.

Gardiner will be fined an additional $50 for every day she fails to comply with the bylaw.

Are you ready for stage 3?  She won’t get rid of them, she’ll rack up a huge fine at $50 a day, and then she’ll have to go back to court again.

This isn’t over yet.

– 3 News


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  • Luis Cannon

    Who we gonna call? Gareth the Exterminator.

    • Sailor Sam

      Yes, I would have thought that Gareth would want to comment on this story.
      It is after all at his level of expertise.

  • oldmanNZ

    caffeine, Oinion, Garlic,Chocolate, caffeine.

    these are good for getting rid of the cat forever.

    If I had 30 cats roaming in my backyard, Coffee grind in tuna is a nice treat.

    • Tom

      So is glycol

    • kehua

      I found .22 bullets very effective.

  • I would have trapped them and dropped them in at the SPCA.

    • Rocket

      Disclosure: I like cats, and often have had 1 or 2 as pets.
      In this case, as a warning to inappropriate owners, all 25 ( I read somewhere else 30+) of her cats should be trapped and immediately put down. Do not bother the SPCA.

  • Stuarts.burgers

    So if she follows the ” Boy Racer ” example rack up a few grands in fines then back to see a nice judge, not Judge David Saunders as he seems to understand what the community needs, and get fines converted to Community Service or PD or what ever they call it to day.

  • HR

    I wonder if she would begin to complain if someone moved in next door with 30 dogs? And whether she would be so keen to let her cats wander next door then?

    If she wants to keep so many animals, do the decent thing and move to the country, keep as many animals as you like.

  • Genevieve

    There’s actually a term for it,, animal hoarding. Unless this women gets some help for her disorder, which she in all likelihood won’t, the cats will stay.

  • Reaper

    This Aussie guy has the answer.

  • jedmo

    Glad to see this good outcome but it’s way too slow and cumbersome a process. And I fear you’re right, she ain’t gonna see sense and will drag it out to the bitter end.

  • Lord Evans

    It’s a catastrophe!

  • anniem

    If they are coming onto your property get a live trap and catch them and then humanely dispose of them. Quite time consuming but satisfying at seeing them disappear one by one. Solution 2 and the one I would favour is get a Foxy or Jack Russell and let the dog at ’em. The cats would stop coming or would no longer be around.

    • Nige.

      most humane way is a .22 or hooked up to the cars co3