Attitudes changing towards the humble Moggy

Greenie sentiments are becoming more common amongst the general population and many people now recognise that pet cats (while lovely) are also extremely efficient hunters. Domesticated dogs, in general, do not hunt for pleasure but domestic Cats are hard-wired?predators so even a full belly does not prevent them killing mice, rats, lizards and native birds.?

How do you enforce a covenant restricting the right to own a cat? That is the question facing Lower Hutt Forest & Bird.

In a surprise move, consultants working on a 14-hectare subdivision on Waipounamu Drive, in the suburb of Kelson, agreed to a covenant limiting households to one desexed and microchipped cat.

That was good news for Lower Hutt Forest & Bird executive member Gerry Brackenbury, who put the idea to the developer. But it remains unclear how it would be enforced.

Peer pressure is how it will be enforced. The subdivision will attract Greenies and they will make it their business to police the lonely old Nana down the road with three cats.

City solicitor Brad Cato told?Brackenbury?that enforcing such a covenant was not the council’s responsibility. It would be up to residents who move into the subdivision to enforce it.

“It says here Mrs Miggins quite clearly, only ONE desexed and microchipped cat is permissible.”

The council could become a party to the covenant, but it would create issues around staff time, cost and the council’s willingness to go to court, he said in an October email.

Brackenbury believes the council has an obligation to protect the environment, and with the subdivision next to the Belmont Regional Park, he wants rules to restrict cats.

Attitudes were changing, he said, and there was now “general agreement” that cats had?a negative impact on native birds and other species, including lizards.

A ban on cats was placed on titles as part of the resource consent issued by the Environment Court in 2003. The subdivision was next to a nationally important forest and the ban also included dogs.

Under the Resource Management Act, any conditions suggested by the council had to be linked to addressing an identifiable adverse environmental effect.

It would be up the planning officer or the commissioner hearing the application to decide if there were any negative impacts associated with cats, that could justify a condition being attached to the consent.

When asked?why the council could impose rules on dogs but not on cats, he said the council had authority to deal with dogs from the Dog Control Act 1996, and there was no similar legislation for cats.[…]

Equal rights rules for cats!