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Tea Tree Gully Council Bylaw


WARNING – The Tea Tree Gully Council is considering a cat bylaw which would encourage cat-haters to trap and kill your cats.

You only have until MONDAY 3 July 2023 to get your opposition to the Council. Just a few days!

  •  Cats bylaws do NOT solve problems, they create bigger ones.
  • Cats are NOT dogs and cannot be managed like dogs.
  • If a cat bylaw is imposed, it can have a limit of 2 cats per property.
  • This will stop residents from taking responsibility for the unowned cats and getting them desexed.
  • The cat bylaw can force cats to be registered and make you pay a fee every year.
  • The cat bylaw can force you to confine your cats and charge you a fine if they trespass.
  • Campbelltown Council is charging a fine of $312-50 if a cat trespass or breaks the cat bylaw.
  • Cat bylaws encourage cat-haters to trap and kill your cats.

If you are not good at writing a submission you only have to send one sentence and say you do NOT support the cat bylaws and that Tea Tree Gully Council already has a good cat management program with low priced desexing and a good information Hotline through C.A.T.S. Cats Assistance To Sterilise on 8331 0476. That is enough and it will count.
Send it to Brooke

Or you can copy the following and send that…
To Brooke
email   communityengagement@cttg.sa.gov.au

Dear Community Engagement Officer
Tea Tree Gully Council

I am writing to oppose the Cat Bylaw which is being considered by the Council, as cat laws do not work.

They do not solve cat related problems but create bigger ones.

Cats are not dogs and cannot be managed like dogs.

Limiting cat numbers per household is not fair as some people only have cats and no other pets. Some also have big gardens while some only live in a block of units.

Having registration for cats and charging fees stop residents from taking responsibility for the unowned cats and getting them desexed. They will still feed the cats but they will be left to breed, so there will be even more cats and problems.

Forcing people to confine cats is cruel as some cats cannot be shut inside and no cats should be permanently confined.

Tea Tree Gully does not have a cat problem in any case. Thousands of cats, including former unowned cats, have been desexed through the C.A.T.S. Low Priced Desexing Scheme which has been running for over 30 years. There is also Hotline for anyone who needs help with cat care and good cat management information, which is free.

Please do not undermine the good cat management and high desexing rates we already have in Tea Tree Gully Council, because cat laws alienate the people who care for the cats and without their support nothing constructive will be achieved.

Yours faithfully
Put email address

Following is more information for those who want to write their own submission…


Community Engagement Officer
City of Tea Tree Gully

Submission to the Tea Tree Gully Public Consultation for Cat Management 


Helping to desex owned cats and providing asistance for residents to take responsibility for unowned cats which they feed and care for and then get them desexed, and let them live in their gardens, is the solution to reducing the numbers of cats, the cat related problems and the threat to wildlife.

This is the only method which has proven to reduce cat numbers, problems and impact on wildlife.

Cat bylaws do not solve problems they simply undermine good cat management.

If cats are re-homed, removed, killed or confined, it simply creates a vacuum which is soon filled by new, usually undesexed cats, which breed to excess and actually increase the numbers per area.

This is a phenomenon of nature, called “The Vacuum Effect”, which obviously the state government has not understood or it would not have tabled the “Review of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995” in Parliament. This “Review” will not solve any of the catastrophic problems we now have, which have been caused by its previous legislative controls of 5 years ago, as most cat supporters will not comply with cat laws.

This failure to comply with legislative cat controls is also well documented by lack of any success in councils which have imposed cat bylaws: The RSPCA stating that “although some councils have introduced cat bylaws there is no tangible evidence of success”.

On the other hand, there is significant evidence of success that the “Desex and Return to Home” method does show tangible evidence of success, as it has reduced cat numbers, cat related problems and impact on wildlife in the areas where it has been applied.

One excellent example of this is the Norwood Payneham and St Peters Council (NP&SP) which has been working with the organisation Cats Assistance To Sterilise (CATS) for over 30 years. The NP&SP/CATS partnership has never had a cat bylaw, does not fine or threaten its constituents but assists with a good cat management policy and has been providing low priced cat desexing for over 30 years. It has now reduced its cat numbers and problems to such a degree that this partnership has been offering FREE cat desexing for all cats, owned and unowned, (except pedigree cats and from breeders) for the financial year 2022-2023. The result has been so amazing that this FREE cat desexing partnership has already been passed by Council to continue.

State government and councils should be investigating the success of the “Desex and Return to Home” program which is based on the Vacuum Effect and adheres to this scientifically proved phenomenon that if you remove one lot of cats, in an open system that supports cats, then a new lot of cats will recolonise and breed. (Unless there is something 24/7 to keep them out)

The government’s “Review”, however, is not evidence–based and includes nothing which will solve any of the problems we now have with the cat catastrophe: This massive drop in cat desexing and skyrocketing in cat numbers was caused by the state-wide mandatory microchipping and forcing of  recording on Dog And Cat Online (DACO) as most cat supporters have not complied and many have ceased desexing as well, for fear of being fined.

I therefore ask the question  

What is Tea Tree Gully Council trying to achieve with cat management? 

If it is to reduce cat numbers and cat-related problems and save wildlife, then this will not be achieved through cat laws.

Cat management laws don’t work, have never worked and there is no scientific evidence to prove that they could work. If Council wants a long and short-term-result with fewer cats, fewer problems and a stable ecosystem for wildlife, it should not waste staff time and ratepayers’ money on a cat bylaw..

Providing evidence of cat registration and enforcement is difficult and requires an enormous amount of staff time. The cost to ratepayers would also run into the tens of thousands of dollars to comply. Cat bylaws cost all ratepayers, not just cat owners. Registration fees do not cover costs because compliance is low, as shown by the Adelaide Hills Council which has stated on a recent zoom meeting, that “only 9% of its cats have been registered and that they are manly designer cats and not moggies”.

Regarding Permanent Cat Confinement 

There is no such thing as a cat-free zone in an open system that can sustain cats, unless there is something 24/7 to keep them out. Tea Tree Gully Council is in an open system and it does sustain cats.

The idea that all tame, owned cats can be confined and all free-living cats can be removed is pie in the sky. Removal of one lot of cats simply leaves a vacuum for another lot of cats to move in and breed.

This is a proved scientific fact. 

In addition, this constant removal of resident cats and infiltration of new cats destabilises the ecosystem and this creates a dangerous situation for native wildlife.

Given that having no cats is unattainable, the best solution is to have well fed, desexed and managed cats holding the territory and preventing new undesexed cats from infiltrating and breeding.

The more desexed cats, the fewer undesexed cats can infiltrate. 

Numbers then reduce to the minimum required, while controlling the rats and mice and deterring snakes.

There is no doubt that without enough cats there is an increase in the population of rodents and an influx of snakes. Records show that paramedics have been treating victims of snakebite every second day in the warmer weather.

Using baits to kill the rodents is polluting the environment, seeping into the waterways and poisoning the food chain.

There are no safe poisons. Example, such as Roundup, which was promoted as being safe, has now been shown to cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, with resulting massive compensation payouts. The Messenger records show that rat baits have already poisoned native wildlife and endangered children who could have found the poisoned food.

Permanent Cat Confinement also raises many problems which I feel have not been considered.

Most properties do not have enough space to build cat enclosures that are large enough to provide for the needs of cats. Even if they do, the cost is usually prohibiting.

These enclosures often contravene the building laws.

Confining cats in small cages or houses results in a build-up of fleas, requiring expensive flea control.  Costly cat litter is essential and continual cleaning of cat trays by the elderly and infirm is a constant worry. Dirty cat trays result in insanitary living- conditions. Cats also vomit on the carpets.

Confining undesexed female cats attracts tom cats into the area to caterwaul, spray and cause nuisance to neighbours.

Permanent confinement also prevents the cats from doing their job of keeping out new undesexed cats, controlling the rodents, and deterring snakes.

And the cats of course, suffer from being prevented from living their lives as nature intended, which is cruel.

Most cats suffer both physically and psychologically from permanent confinement. Injuries from cat attacks have escalated and hospital records show a significant increase in the number of people being admitted for these attacks by frustrated, confined cats.

Cats are already becoming obese and reports by vets of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis are increasing with cats not being able to have adequate exercise: Similar problems to humans who do not have adequate exercise.

The rental accommodation position is also in crisis and hard enough for tenants to get any homes: Forcing cats to be confined in houses, as in most cases there is no other choice of keeping cats on a set property, will exacerbate the problems of even getting a rental property. And most landlords will not allow cat-runs to be built on their financial asset.

Night Curfews also raise serious problems. 

Shift workers cannot be expected to be home at the given hours imposed by a cat curfew.

Elderly people are put at risk, wandering in the dark trying to find their beloved pets which won’t come inside for the curfew. This causes an enormous strain on people who continually worry about confining their cats in time. What happens when a disabled person in a wheelchair or on a walking frame can’t get their wayward cat inside?

Many cats do not adjust to being confined and create havoc by being locked in a house or run. Some literally climb the walls, spray on the TV and electrical appliances and rip up carpets.

Owners can be encouraged to keep their tame pets inside at night for the cats’ own safety, but this does not “save” native wildlife, because new cats infiltrate the vacated space.

Furthermore, when cats are let out in the morning, they catch the early birds off-guard. So,it is far better to keep the ecosystem stable.

Regarding Cat Registration 

The state government cat legislation has superseded any requirement for individual councils to have cat registration bylaws. Cats are required to have a microchip which is registered on Dog And Cat Online (DACO). This records names and addresses of owners and details of the cats. Owners wishing to retrieve their cats can use this free service.

However, this state legislation has also failed as the low percentage of the estimated 400,000 owned cats shows that most residents will not comply to microchipping cats and recording on Dog and Cat Online (DACO).

We need to remember that DACO is also FREE, and with this low compliance rate for free recording, how does Tea Tree Gully Council expect to get a higher percentage if it charges a fee?

At last check there are only about 9 SA councils out of 68 that have been unwise enough to have cat registration.

The Adelaide Hills Council is one of these Councils with a draconian cat bylaw which has caused complaints to the RSPCA, and also on-going problems for the Council. On a zoom presentation the Team Leader Matt Ahern stated that only 9% of the cats were registered and most of these were designer cats and not moggies: Another example of low compliance.

In addition, the cost for housing the trapped and surrendered cats is enormous and now the RSPCA won’t take any more as its shelters are overflowing.

The RSPCA states “Although some councils have introduced mandatory registration, there are no reports of its successful implementation”. 

Limiting cats to 2 per household is pointless and unfair. It is the way the cats are managed that matters, not the numbers. Some residents have properties with large gardens which require more than 2 cats to patrol and hold this area, while other residents live in blocks of units with no gardens. This means a block of 6 units can have 12 cats while a large property can have only 2 cats.

Some owners have multiple animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, while some owners only have cats.

Furthermore, the existing Local Government Act already covers multiple nuisance animals, so why do we need to duplicate this?

With regard to the cruel practice of hiring out cat trapping cages to any Tom Dick or cat-hater, I find this appalling.

With escalating violence towards cats, such as the two pets that have been found with their heads decapitated, and those with arrows sticking out of them, how can Council justify hiring out these cages with no supervision as to their use or what happens to the cats. It is obvious from feedback that some of these trapped cats are being taken to the Adelaide hills and dumped. This is extremely cruel as these poor cats try to find their way back home, and usually die or get back home skin and bone. It is also a threat to the native wildlife as the cats have to kill in their struggle to survive, without their regular food supplied.

There is no guarantee that microchips will save the cats as microchips can fail to be read, move about in the cats’ bodies and cease to work. Cats can also be badly hurt in these unsupervised cages and have been known to hang by the collar on the mechanism, injure themselves requiring veterinary surgery and be destroyed at the shelters because microchips have not identified them.

Furthermore, trapping cages set on trappers’ properties lure the cats from their homes from up to at least 3 houses away with the smell from the baited cages. This is entrapment and abduction.

The RSPCA has banned the hiring of cat traps to the public stating that “owners are trapping their neighbors’ cats” If the RSPCA has banned this cruel practice, then why would the Tea Tree Gully Council want to have a cat bylaw and, as enforcement is required to manage it, provide cat trapping cages?

Attitudes are now changing and animal supporters have started world-wide opposition against the Australian government regarding its persecution and killing of cats and now the wheel is turning. Violence against animals is a forerunner of violence against humans and fines of 50 thousand dollars and 4 years in jail can be opposed. Hiring out cat trapping cages to the public facilitates cruelty, and leaves Council open to litigation as well.

Almost all complaints to Councils are solved by desexing the cats 

Almost all complaints to councils are cause by undesexed cats. The answer to these complaints is to desex the cats and return them to their homes, as trapping and removal exacerbates the problem.

Desexing solves up to 95% of cat related problems by preventing mating and breeding, stopping cats travelling in search of mates and caterwauling and fighting all night over them, stopping tomcat urine, and encouraging cats to stay at home.

Some cats do attack some wildlife but scientific studies show that most prey of cats consists of introduced species, mainly rats and mice. In addition, many anecdotal reports and unsubstantiated statements by people blaming cats for attacking wildlife are incorrect. The SA Museum stated that people are mistaking attacks by birds for cat attacks because cats hide with their prey. Cats do not leave feathers and fur in the open but Birds of Prey do. More birds are killed by Birds of Prey than are by cats and we don’t have bylaws to confine Birds of Prey.

The Solution is to provide education on the importance of desexing and information on what is needed to keep cats happy at home, without confinement.

This erroneous idea that cats “roam” needs to be addressed. “Roam” means to travel aimlessly and unsystematically” which cats do NOT do. Cats patrol with a purpose and it is this purpose that needs to be addressed.

  1. Cats travel to patrol and hold their territory against intruder cats.
  2. Cats travel to control rats and mice and deter snakes.
  3. Cats travel in search of mates and breed.
  4. Cats travel to find food.

We need cats to patrol to keep other undesexed cats from infiltrating.

We need cats to control the rodents and deter snakes.

We feed cats so they don’t need to travel to find food.

So what we need to do is desex the cats so that they do not travel in search of mates and breed, which is what causes the problems. It is the undesexed cats that cause the complaints so the answer is to concentrate on assisting with desexing the undesexed cats and educating residents regarding good cat management and providing for the needs of their cats.

We all need to be working together in harmony instead of alienating residents with threats of fines and seizure of cats, and exacerbating feuds between neighbors by hiring out cat trapping cages to lure their beloved pets to their death.

It is essential to work with the people who look after the cats as without their help, nothing constructive will be achieved. Using force, with threats of fees and fines, trapping and killing of cats will simply send the whole cat movement underground which is already happening in Councils with cat bylaws.

Thank you for the opportunity to send you my submission and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Please make sure that you do this NOW as we only have a few days until the Public Consultation closes on Monday 3 July 2023.

Your cats’ lives may depend on your submissions.

Thanking you for supporting the cats of Tea Tree Gully Council