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Melbourne suburb enacts ‘cat curfew’ prohibiting cats from leaving their property

Melbourne suburb enacts ‘cat curfew’ prohibiting cats from leaving their property

The feline residents of an east Melbourne suburb are longer free to roam the streets.

Melbourne suburb enacts ‘cat curfew’ prohibiting cats from leaving their property

Knox City Council in east Melbourne will soon be enforcing a 24-hour ‘cat curfew’, making it illegal for the local cats to roam outside of their owner’s home.

The new law, which will come into effect from October 2021, requires owners to keep their cats within the boundary of their property, encouraging them to adopt cat enclosures or cat-proof fences for their pets.

According to the local council, 7000 domestic cats are registered to the area. Cat-owners could face fines of up to $545AUD if they are caught breaching the curfew rules multiple times.

The law has divided residents, with some cat owners angry about the new restrictions. “Either we’d have to build another fence to section it off or we’d have to cover the whole backyard, which would be expensive,” local cat owner Charlotte Jensen told 7NEWS.

“It’s just not fair on them. It’s like putting a tiger in the zoo. It’s just too small and they don’t have that freedom.”

Other locals are in support of the curfew. “It’s no different to any other pet you might own so why should they just roam free,” local resident Nick Gaertner told 9NEWS.

According to ecologist Dr Jim Radford from La Trobe University, the new measures will protect local wildlife such as birds, bats, possums and reptiles.

“Cat containment at all times is just another element of responsible pet ownership,” he told 7NEWS.

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