Council has called tenders for an expanded dog and cat pound.
Council has called tenders for an expanded dog and cat pound.

New dog and cat regos enforced

TWO council animal control officers are now busily prowling our towns and the bush to ensure pet owners are toeing the line.

New Queensland government laws introduced in December mean all cats and dogs – with the exception of working dogs – must be registered with council, whether in town or out in the bush.

About 190 rural dogs and 667 cats have been registered with the Southern Downs Regional Council.

To help enforce registrations, a council has had to employ a second full-time animal control officer to help with the larger workload.

One officer patrols rural areas while the other circulates the Warwick township.

A third officer in Stanthorpe is also involved in animal control, among other duties.

A council spokeswoman said they had been happy with the response to the registration changes.

“The response from the community in complying with the new legislation has been very pleasing and (council) urges anyone that has not yet registered their animals to do so quickly,” she said.

If an unregistered stray cat or dog is located, the animal is held for a minimum of three days.

Council officers try to find a home for the animal, “but a home is not always able to be found”.

The spokeswoman said council had plans to carry out registration checks in rural areas to ensure residents complied with rego laws.

“Officers will be looking at the numbers of dogs kept on properties, types of dogs and checking to see if working dogs are actually working dogs,” a spokeswoman said.

A working dog is a dog usually kept or proposed to be kept on rural land and by an owner who is a primary producer, or a person engaged or employed by a primary producer.

A working dog is kept primarily for the purpose of droving, protecting, tending, or working stock; or being trained in droving, protecting, tending, or working stock.

Pig dogs would not be regarded as working dogs.

But once a working dog “retires” it no longer falls under the definition of a working dog and is classed as a pet, which means it would require registration.

The new rules also require all new cats and those less than 12 weeks old at December 10 last year to be both registered and microchipped, regardless of whether their owners live in town or in the bush.

Local vet Dr Stephen Tanner said the demand from pet owners for microchipping had increased since the introduction of the legislation changes, with his clinic performing three or four such procedures each week on both cats and dogs.

“Microchipping makes the decision in the pound easier,” he said.

“If they’re not microchipped they will be declared feral and will be euthanised more quickly.”

Dr Tanner said 90 per cent of cats would seek out their owners but this tendency to roam made microchipping all the more necessary.

“Cats tend to wander more than dogs and they are more likely to get lost,” Dr Tanner said.

“If they have an accident and they are micro-chipped we can contact the owner if the details are current.”

Cat registration comes with a tag that the cat wears on a collar.

When registered, your cat is listed on the council register, along with your contact details.

Microchipping is the insertion of a small electronic identification device into the animal’s skin, which can be scanned and read.

This means that if your microchipped cat gets lost outside of your local government area, or if it loses its collar and tag, it can still be identified and returned to you.

Microchipping is compulsory if you are buying, selling or giving away a cat or dog.

Council will soon have more room to house wayward pets that can’t be identified, with tenders called for expansion of the animal pound at Wentworth St.

The $380,000 upgrade is hoped to complete by the end of the year.

A council spokeswoman said the budget included a cattery, which had work on it completed last month.

In the past the council has had to deal with a number of break-ins, as disgruntled owners try to break-out their impounded pets.

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