Clause 31 of the by-law prohibits a person from feeding or encouraging the presence of a stray or feral cat.
It is assumed that this by-law is designed to prohibit a person from feeding cats that have no defined owner. There are clearly significant ethical implications of leaving an animal hungry (particularly a stray) and the potential that such an animal may turn to alternate sources of food such as native animals.
Many stray cats are timid and will only allow a person to interact directly with them after a relationship has been established (generally through feeding and providing safe shelter).
Similarly cat trapping programs for feral cats commonly feed colony's of cats for a period of time in the presence of traps to habituate the cats with the traps before they are set. This is often done by volunteers and can include local residents who support the idea of humanely trapping feral cats.
In the present by-law only the people covered by Clause 4.2 (...an employee or agent of the council or a contractor of the council, ....) is exempt from the prohibition of feeding or encouraging the presence of a stray or feral cat.
This clause appears to be in conflict with Clause 17 of the Cat Management Act 2009:
17. Protection of property from cats
(1) A person carrying on primary production relating to livestock on rural land, or a person acting on behalf of such a person, may trap, seize or humanely destroy any cat found on that land.
(2) A person may trap, seize or humanely destroy a cat found on his or her private land if –
(a) the land is more than one kilometre from any place genuinely used as a place of residence; or
(b) in other prescribed circumstances.
Clearly a person is allowed to trap or sieze a cat under certain circumstances under the Act and that cat may be a stray or feral. It is probable that in many cases the process of trapping or siezing a cat under these provisions would include the feeding or encouraging the presence of a cat in the first instance.
In addition as Clause 4.2 currently stands it it would prohibit an "authorised person" under the Cat Management Act 2009 from preforming some of the duties they are empowered with under the Act , such as setting traps baited with food or encouraging a cat in order to sieze it.
Clearly Clause 31 if too prescriptive and needs to allow the feeding and encouragement of stray and feral cats under prescribed circumstances that will lead to a higher level of welfare for the cat (which may include euthanasia or rehoming). At a minimum Clause 4.2 should include authorised persons under the Cat Management Act 2009.