Bruny Island Cat By-law
Bruny Island Cat By-law
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Part 3 of the By-law provides for permits.
The By-law prohibits "a person" to "keep or allow to be kept" more than two cats of more than six months of age on "any premises" without a permit (Clause 7.1).
Literally read this by-law would apply to any person who was aware that more than two cats were being kept without a permit at any place on the island.
There is no definition of "keep" or "allow to be kept" in the By-law.
The intent appears to be restrict the number of cats owned by the occupiers of a private property to two unless a permit is obtained.
The wording does however give latitude in circumstances where it may not be clear as to who is required to obtain a permit, for instance when a shared household may contain multiple owners of cats residing at a residence. In these cases it appears that all the occupiers may be liable to an infringement notice.

It is unclear how the upper limit of two cats being allowed without a permit has been determined. and why cats under six months of age are exempt.
This is the same number for dogs before they require a "licence".

I am unaware of any data that indicates that more than two cats is more likely to cause a nuisance or be of greater environmental risk. This is particularly the case when cats on Bruny are not permitted to be "at large". The limit of two cats before requiring a permit may work against the intention of the law. Most people will be receptive to the idea of registration but may be put off by the process of applying, advertising and reporting that the permit system entails. Depending on the number of households with more than two cats this regulation may also be counter productive in relation to the council resources that will be needed for processing applications and providing inspections services.

In addition it will often be unclear when the limit is reached as more than two cats can be allowed when the cat is owned by by person who does not reside at the premises and the cat is being kept for a "limited, or temporary period" (Clause 7.2). Clearly there are circumstances when cats will be looked after by friends or family when people go on holiday, move or are homeless. The period that these animals are "kept" will vary and in at least some circumstances will become effectively permanent. There are many instances where domestic animals effectively reside at a property but are still considered to be "owned" by a relative or friend. How the council will determine when an infringement has occurred under Clause 7 when multiple cat owners are involved is unclear.

The exemption from requiring a permit provided by Clause 7.2 (another owner and limited or temporary residence) provides a relatively simple method of keeping more than two cats without a permit if someone other than the property owner is happy to have the additional cats registered in the their name.
There is currently no limit to the number of cats that can be kept at a premises under Clause 7.2.

I would suggest that the upper limit of cats allowed without a permit should be raised to four and that Clause 7.2 be removed or a definition of "limited, or temporary residence " be included in the interpretation section of the By-law (Clause 3).

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Simon Roberts
7 months ago · 2 votes · 0 comment
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