Whose job to take on feral cats?

FERAL cats have been rife around the Central Highlands for years, but it is an issue Damian Liosatos has had enough of.

The Emerald local is just one of the many residents to complain about the roaming felines in the past couple of months and he is annoyed with the council's handling of the situation.

For the past few weeks Damian and his family have put up with an abandoned tom cat coming in and out of their home, eating their cats' food and causing a vile stench around the house.

"This particular cat was actually owned by the people who used to live two doors down, but they moved out and abandoned it," Damian said.

The family have two cats of their own, which are registered with the Central Highlands Regional Council and microchipped.

Damian rang the council two weeks ago to see where he could take the cat if he caught it and was told to have it euthanised at the vet at his own expense.

"We just can't afford that," he said.

"There is not a very good range of options available, especially when we've paid to register our own two cats. Why are we still having to pay registration if there is nowhere to take feral cats?"

On Sunday, Damian finally caught the cat and rang the council again to ask what to do with it.

"They told us they don't deal with cats anymore and said they couldn't give me any advice on cats," he said.

Damian said the problem was only going to get worse unless the council started providing facilities to house and re-home cats.

The Central Highlands Regional Council manager of environmental health Geoff Atherfold said the council had received a small number of complaints about the issue.

"If residents trap or catch stray cats that they think are feral, then they will need to be taken to the vet to be humanely put down," he said.

"Baiting is not allowed within or near urban areas due to the risk of domestic animals eating the baits. Council is in the process of restocking the supply of cat cages and traps having lost a number during the flood. These will be available for rent."

He said the council was in the process of developing a pest management plan and policy for feral animals.

"Council currently does not have pound facilities for cats but a temporary facility is planned in Emerald next to the existing dog pound," he said.

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