THE locals have spoken and 80% of those who responded to the online cat poll have voted either for a complete curfew or for a dawn to dusk cat curfew in Warrandyte.
More than 1000 people had voted on the Warrandyte Community Association website when the poll closed at the end of March.
Final figures were 46% voted for a complete curfew, 34% for a dawn to dusk curfew and 20% voted for no curfew.
The Yes/No poll asked the question: Should there be a cat curfew ‘at all times’ or ‘from dawn to dusk’? It also included an option to comment.
Nillumbik Shire Council has an order under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, which requires cat owners to keep their pets securely confined between the curfew times of 7.30pm and 6am.
Although there is no curfew in place in Manningham, council strongly recommends cats be confined to owners properties.
WCA president Dick Davies said the response to the survey had been very high.
“Obviously the majority would prefer a curfew. But it’s important to note that this is not a vote against cats but a vote for responsible cat ownership,” Mr Davies said.
“Comments both for and against a curfew were mostly very reasonable. It’s heartening that Warrandyte can engage in a sensible level of debate about a sensitive topic as many people rely heavily on companion animals.”
The WCA’s Carole Lush, who has been actively involved with the poll says it’s obvious a review, update and implementation of a cat curfew is required.
“I am personally in favour of a 24-hour curfew, and 47 percent of the voters agreed with me,” Mrs Lush said.
“I believe that people who choose not to become cat owners have the right to keep neighbourhood cats out of their property during daylight hours. l frequently see at least two neighbourhood cats on our property and in the Manningham Council Reserve behind our land.
“I have planted a native garden for birds and wildlife and don’t want cats in my garden.”
The poll received national coverage in the Herald Sun and on Channel Ten’s Studio 10 morning show.
Research has shown that wandering cats are a major threat to wildlife.
Mr Davies said that WCA would be discussing the results with both councils. Nillumbik has indicated that it would take a “substantial poll” for councillors to raise the dawn to dusk curfew to a complete 24-hour curfew.