An elderly Glengarry couple with at least 13 feral cats on their property want them removed, but due to legislation cat organisations can not catch them on private property in Tasmania.
Helene and Brian Chell first noticed a cat and two kittens on their Ginns Road property about two years ago, before they disappeared and multiplied into 13.
The couple need help in capturing the feral cats, to surrender them, but no organisation in the state can provide the service due to the Cat Management Act.
The act prevents the owner of private land, or people working on their behalf, from trapping them unless it's on rural land used for livestock or on any land further than a kilometre from any residence.
The Chell's acknowledged they could have captured them themselves several years ago, but it was a different story now.
"They've killed at least two bandicoots that I've seen in the last three months," Mr Chell said.
As a result the couple were forking out more than $60 a week to feed them.
"[The RSPCA] said 'oh don't feed them', so if we don't feed them they'll kill the bandicoots and the wildlife," Mrs Chell said.
In other news:
- Coronavirus survivor Naida Jillett, 73, donates plasma for national treatment trial
- Tasmania delays decision on borders reopening until July 31
- Tasmanian elective surgery waiting lists at 'all time high' pre-COVID restrictions
- Unfair dismissal case against Senator Jacqui Lambie to recommence in September
They noticed the increase of feral cats about three months ago and they contacted everyone they could to seek assistance including Just Cats, the RSPCA and West Tamar Council.
"I think cats should be microchipped, we have to microchip the dogs," Mrs Chell said.
"I [emailed] our local MP, who happens to be the Premier [Peter Gutwein] and I have had an answer that they would get back to me.
"Well that was over a week ago, they haven't got back ... you're [The Examiner] my last resort to get somebody to do something."
Anyone trapping feral cats on their own property, which is not used for livestock, one kilometre from a home or has not been deemed a prohibited area for cats by a municipality, is illegal under the legislation but is often not enforced.
The state government is looking to change this part of the legislation, but the passing of the amendment bill was delayed due to COVID-19. The bill will implement changes identified in the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan 2017-2022.
However for organisations it's different. Just Cats founder Rachel Beech said they could not risk helping the couple until the legislation was changed as they could lose their licence.
"Sadly they're not the only ones, we get at least six to seven phone calls a week about feral cats," she said.
"It is a big job [capturing the cats], that's the problem."
Ms Beech said they offered training for individuals to trap feral cats humanely and offered a trap hiring service for a fee but could not physically assist with the trapping.
RSPCA Tasmania chief executive officer Jan Davis said the Chell's should not feed the cats as it encouraged them to hang around and return.
However she acknowledged feral cats killing wildlife to survive was also a problem.
"It all comes back to a much large problem and there's not a simple solution," she said.
"The state government needs to allocate more resources to the issue, we don't have the resources to do everything everyone wishes we could do.
"We need to fess up and recognise that it's going to cost money ... but nobody wants to write the cheques."
Ms Davis echoed Mrs Chell's calls for cats in the state to be required to be microchipped.
She said the government's amendment bill did not go far enough in terms of resolving the issue of cat management in the state.
"We think it didn't go far enough [the bill], we want them to be required to be microchipped and registered at a minimum," she said.
"We could look at an eradication program and we need mandatory rehoming desexing."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: