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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.