As Canberrans prepare for tough new cat ownership rules, Wagga residents have waded into the debate - to leash or not to leash?
Earlier this year the ACT government announced that from July 1 all new cats will be required to be registered and wear a leash outdoors or their owners could face a fine of up to $300.
The territory government said the purpose of the new rules is to ensure more responsible cat ownership, protect wildlife and reduce the nuisance of roaming cats to local residents.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Under the new rules, existing cat owners are not required to leash their cats, unless they reside in one of Canberra's 17 cat containment suburbs.
Wagga city councillor Richard Foley, whose partner owns a cat, believes the idea of leashing them is "absurd".
"People will get sick of it pretty quickly," Cr Foley said.
"Try herding a cat, let alone putting it on a leash. It's like something out of Monty Python."
However, Cr Foley agrees sensible measures like a cat curfew should be taken to protect wildlife.
"I certainly think every cat should be registered and have a bell collar so it can't stalk wildlife," he said.
In contrast, Wagga cat owner Sally Woodland believes the new rules are great.
"I have no problem putting my cat on a leash, because she will go out and hunt birds and mice if she's not supervised," she said.
Ms Woodland believes Wagga should trial putting cats on leashes.
"It's no different to other laws that have been passed. We've got off-leash parks for dogs, and other places where they have to be on leads," she said.
Wagga councillor Jenny McKinnon agrees, saying the new rules "strike a good balance".
"While I acknowledge cats are important companion animals, cats are also hunters and our native wildlife is suffering because of them," Cr McKinnon said.
"Frogs, skinks and small lizards are all plummeting in numbers because of predation by cats and other animals. So if we can limit the ability of cats to prowl in our urban areas, then we can really help our environment."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.