Wellington Scoop

Cats and roosters, dogs and pigeons – on the Wellington council agenda

Today’s the day when Wellingtonians get to confront city councillors over council plans to microchip cats and restrict their numbers, and to ban roosters. Written consultation ended last week, with submissions from more than 750 people. Today it gets verbal.

The council’s environment committee is the venue for today’s forum about changes to bylaws controlling not only cats and roosters but also pigeons and dogs. The meeting is due to start at 9.15 and it’s going to be a busy day.

Proposals to change the Dog Policy received 273 submissions. Thirty-five people have requested the opportunity to make an oral submission.

Proposals to change the Animal Bylaw received 491 submissions. Fifty-two people have requested the opportunity to make an oral submission.

There won’t be time for all of them to be heard today. Another meeting has been scheduled for the 26th to cope with the overflow.

News from Wellington City Council – March 18
The Wellington City Council’s Environment Committee has agreed on a draft Animal Bylaw and Dog Policy for formal consultation. Public consultation will run from 1 April – 2 May and a new bylaw must be in place by September. Decisions will be made after the Council has undertaken a full consultation with the Wellington public.

The Bylaw and policy contain proposed measures to encourage responsible ownership of animals that will reduce public nuisance, help protect local wildlife and improve the welfare of animals. The updated Dog Policy aims to recognise community views and health benefits of dog ownership while balancing public safety concerns.

Environment Committee Chairperson Cr Pannett is keen to understand from the public their views and ensure the Council’s actions take into consideration public needs.

A recent Council survey, which received over 700 responses, showed half of all households had domestic pets. However 97% of survey respondents agreed protection of wildlife was important and that pet owners were willing to take practical steps to stop their pets harming wildlife.

Key issues are:

– requiring cats to be microchipped

– permission to keep more than three cats over the age of six months

– roosters prohibited from urban areas

– permission required to keep more than a set number of poultry

– the feeding of animals including pigeons in public places will be prohibited, unless in a designated area

– dogs will be prohibited from being left unattended in a public place

– dogs will now be allowed to stop in the central city area

– updates to time restrictions in some exercise areas

Dog exercise areas have also been reviewed, and some new areas are proposed. Currently there are 71 exercise areas across the city. There will be gradual improvements to the more popular exercise areas. The Council will also consult on the possibility of having an off-leash walking track to provide more exercise options.

“Council understands making available a range of options to exercise dogs in a safe environment is important to dog owners,” says Cr Pannett “We are really interested to hear from the public to see if the current areas are meeting community needs.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington is an urban diversity leader for marine and terrestrial wildlife. “Wildlife could flourish even more if we can agree on some modest changes to the current rules,” she says.


  1. PCGM, 16. May 2016, 10:05

    At least the Mayor is being honest about her motivations for the anti-cat bylaw: “Wildlife could flourish even more if we can agree on some modest changes to the current rules”. It’s just as a pity that – as she well knows – the council lacks the legal authority under the Local Government Act to protect wildlife – that’s the role of the Department of Conservation.

    The question is, will the rest of the council sign up for the Mayor’s greenie agenda and risk ending up in court?

  2. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 16. May 2016, 13:08

    We wondered which would be the best musical accompaniment for the oral submissions section of the consultation. The theme from Star Wars Empire Strikes Back first came to mind, then we thought Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but maybe the theme from America’s Got Talent would be the best. For the councillors, it must be a bit like sitting through talent quest heats. After sitting through this circus they will need something stronger than chardon, aye?

    The written submissions are now available for download from the WCC website. This is a large pdf file (170mb), 1619 pages in all. A lot of submissions were collective lobbying from the Morgan Foundation, looks like they had members of their cult fill out an online form as all were sent from the same email address.

    Michael Forbes’ article on Saturday was of interest. Out of 491 written submissions, he quoted from three. SPCA, Gareth Morgan’s and ours. We were interested to note an amount of gender stereotyping in his article, seems I am now a ‘spokeswoman’. I guess the assumption is only the ‘fairer sex’ would be mobilising to defend the Cats. In the interest of accurate journalism, Fairfax newsroom has been updated with a correction.

    While awaiting their response, I’ve divested myself of the standard black leather jacket, gang insignia, pirate bandana, jeans and work boots and slipped into something more comfortable and feminine and I feel closer to Goddess already. Regardless of gender orientation, we will all still be here with lots of Cats long after the pseudoscience of restoration ecology has been consigned to history alongside eugenics and other misconceived science that has been used in the past as a justification for hate.

  3. Andrew, 16. May 2016, 13:57

    After reading Michael Forbes’ Stuff article…False conservationists? Just because people are amateurs and volunteers does not make them false. So everyone working hard in Polhill reserve has an ultimate goal of exterminating cats? Surely not.

  4. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 17. May 2016, 4:03

    Thank you for commenting Andrew. Regarding Polhill Restoration Project, it seems there are 150 volunteers involved so I sure hope not all of them are hell bent on mass extermination of Cats. It would all depend on the nature of indoctrination the leaders are laying on the troops, If this recent article written by John Ward of Polhill Restoration in the Dominion Post is anything to go by, indoctrination of volunteers into the anti-Cat mindset may well be quite intensive. Anyone who refers to keeping Cats as “a perversely self-destructive act, like smoking or eating only deep fried Mars bars” deserves our contempt.

    We do note that Polhill Restoration is funded in part by the Morgan Foundation, so it’s no surprise Polhill are promoting the anti-Cat line. Our view is this is not just about restoring native plants and wildlife, the thrill of bloodshed appears to be a factor for some in the amateur ‘conservation’ movement. Over on their Halo Project page there is discussion of using DOC certified predator dogs within the so called Halo to catch supposed ‘feral’ Cats. Animal Welfare (Companion Cats) Code of Welfare 2007 Section 13 states if a ‘feral’ Cat is to be killed then the act must be performed in a ‘humane’ manner. We do not believe the use of ‘certified predator dogs’ counts as ‘humane’.

    The ‘Halo’ is a concept that has been imposed on the suburbs around Zealandia without consultation of residents and includes residential areas where there are domestic Cats, so we do have a huge issue with the idea of using DOC certified predator dogs within a residential zone.

  5. Curtis Nixon, 17. May 2016, 19:24

    The furry furore around treating cats like dogs by microchipping them reminds me of the premise of the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie which was that a cat and dog plague had killed all of those pets so people began having chimps and other great apes for pets. This led to the apes’ brain development being turbocharged to the extent that they took over the planet.

  6. Uncommon opinions..., 17. May 2016, 19:39

    From the fabulously inelegant “felinerights.org” website linked from our correspondant “Sekhmet Bast Ra”:
    We Demand…
    That all references to Cats be expunged from the Animal Bylaw Review 2016.
    That all references to Cats be expunged from the Greater Wellington Regional Pest Management Strategy.
    That all references to Cats be expunged from Wellington’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015.

    Are you kidding? A polite request would be more rational. Perhaps we’ll set up a birdrights.org campaign against those murderous felines and their conspiratorial human guardians. Why shouldn’t one care about NZ’s native birds as much as the artificially introduced parasitical felines? Are they any less creatures of one’s preferred gods? What’s so special about a bog-standard moggy? It’s not like they’re endangered, is it?
    Before the counterattack, be aware that my will leaves a large share to the Cats’ Protection League. I like animals. I’m a longtime practicing “vego”. But I still think this anonymous fan of cats has pushed the boat out a little too far for comfort.

  7. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 18. May 2016, 14:27

    There will be no ‘counterattack’ from us on Wellington.Scoop. What we are saying is Cats are the victim of an orchestrated libelous propaganda campaign. For many of us, Cats are our immediate family members, we feel they are under threat, therefore we are speaking out about it. We have to tell it how we see it. When people are reactive, that tells us there’s a fair chance we have shone some light on the truth and comfort zones are no longer as comfortable as they were. Everyone has the option to write our opinion off as invalid if it helps keep their comfort zone intact.

    We’ve kept Cats for 50 years and in our experience, native wildlife captures are a rare event. For the Cats we have, to our knowledge zero native wildlife captures and zero non indigenous bird captures. They do show us the rats and mice they have caught. If birds or lizards were on the menu we’d expect them to at least show us some of them, if they did we’d certainly be concerned.

    Our garden is visited by various native birds. Tui, Silvereye, Bellbird, Fantail, Morepork, we’d like to add Kaka to the list of visitors, but for now the Kaka are just passers by. We also have both gecko and skink. Gecko can sometimes be seen, skinks are more secretive, however while shifting a stack of timber a few weeks ago, there were numerous skinks. We have have noted native birds fly into the feature window in our lounge, this happens several times a year. Both Tui and Silvereye do it, some have just knocked themselves out and recover with a few hour’s cage rest. Sadly, others are history. Any suggestions on how we might discourage these avian folks from doing the kamikaze routine would be appreciated.

    You are in luck, the birdrights.org domain is available for registration. All the best with website construction, you will need to learn some html and CSS for a start. If you want to dazzle visitors with an array of headers, footers, drop down menus and windows that pop up out of nowhere, you will need to learn some javascript too. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.