On 24 March 2016, we sent the Council a set of questions. On 1 April 2016 our secretary received a single paragraph reply from Environment Committee Chair, Councillor Iona Pannett, stating "that proposed measures are there to help Cat 'owners'", along with the joyful statement that "I'm a big animal lover and want to see animals treated humanely and with the respect they deserve." Our secretary sent Cr Pannett a reply in the form of the proverbial 'rocket' and asked her not to insult our intelligence. Our correspondence was forwarded to the Office of the Chief Executive. The team leader replied with the web page we now respond to.
We are not sure if the Council's online response is intentionally structured to confuse via ambiguousness, or if the Council has simply prepared it in haste without having thought deeply enough about their response, probably a bit of both. In any case, we feel there are still many unanswered questions, therefore we will now fill the gaps as we promised we would.
"Community Desire" = Bowing To The Wishes Of A Minority
In the introductory section entitled "Why we are making these changes" the Council states. "There is community desire to encourage responsible ownership of Cats which will enable the Cat's welfare to be protected". Our view is the 'community' in this case amounts to a minor survey on one hand, and whole lot of collective lobbying directed by the staff at the Morgan Foundation and a few other zealot amateur 'conservationists'. Our experience talking with Wellington citizens suggests some are against the proposed changes and others are indifferent to them.
When this matter was first placed before the public eye back in November 2015, the Council stated they had received reports of 'Cats killing native wildlife'. When Feline Rights NZ successfully challenged the Council with quotes from the Council's own press releases on the proliferation of native birds in Wellington, they then claimed the proposed restrictions on Cats were to prevent citizens from 'hoarding Cats'. When we pointed out the Health Act 1956 already covers the hoarding of Cats, the Council then began to cite 'animal welfare' as the reason for the proposed restrictions.
It is clear that this is not about 'protecting native wildlife' and it is not about 'hoarding Cats'. It's certainly not about 'animal welfare' either. Our view is this is about fulfilling the directives of rich zealot amateur 'conservationists' and appeasing these false 'conservationists' with a license for the mass extermination of all Cats who do not have identification.
We asked: "Aside from the two restrictions mentioned below, are there any other restrictions the Council plans to whip out from under the metaphorical table in the final week of public consultation?"
The Council have not commented on this question. As there have already been a few psychological warfare tricks (i.e. stating back in November 2015 that public consultation would be from May - June 2016 and then they moved the timing forward to April - May. Also they announced microchipping would not be compulsory, then a week later they said microchipping would be compulsory) we are forced to assume 'no comment' means yes.
One of our supporters has offered her own comments to add to this page.
We include these comments within separate tables at the relevant places.
* 'Limit The Number Of Cats Per Household To Three Cats'
We asked: "What do you expect citizens to do if they presently keep more than three Cats?"
We asked: "Do you intend to send your agents to every household in the city and 'shake down' the residents until they 'come clean' and disclose the number of Cats they keep?"
We asked: "Or are you going to rely on civilian informants to do that work for you?"
By stating the Council will respond "reactively" they have confirmed they will be relying on civilian informants. This policy makes those of us who keep Cats less trusting of other households around us. This policy makes for division within the community, therefore it amounts to poor government.
* "Any changes to the Animals Bylaw would be ... enforced reactively.... If problems were to arise and the matter was bought to the Council’s attention"
* This is unfair to those who could be maliciously dobbed in or singled out. Any bylaw should apply equally to all. If microchipping is to be compulsory, but enforced only reactively, what is the point? It is unclear how microchipping of Cats who live in households of 3 or fewer and who are not caught "out of bounds" will be policed.
Will vigilantes go on patrol with scanners?
* "If a household has more than three Cats, permission could be required through a simple application process."
* What is this process? Will owners be charged an application fee? How much will the process cost to administer?
* "Proposed criteria for permission to keep more than three Cats include *provision for the Cats' hygiene, control, and confinement."
* Does this mean that if a household has, say, 4 Cats, they would be subject to confinement rules that would not apply to a household with 3 or fewer Cats?
It appears the Council would act if the local amateur 'conservation' zealots file a complaint. At that stage the Council would put the ultimatum on the person with Cats to correct the perceived problem. If one has more than three Cats, the Council would either require you to allow yourself to be scrutinised by officials to determine if you are suitable in their eyes to keep more than three Cats. If you are deemed unsuitable in their eyes to keep more than three Cats they would then require you to get rid of some of them by a specified date.
If one does not follow the orders and get rid of one's Cats by the specified date then the Council would send Animal Control Services and SPCA around to confiscate your Cats.
Too horrific to speculate what they would then do to your Cats.
* "Currently nine Councils across the country have similar restrictions currently in place."
* The WCC gives no details of those restrictions, how they are enforced, what they cost, and how their success is measured.
* "No decisions have been made on what would happen to Cats if their household was deemed not allowed to keep more than three (or another set number) of Cats because they don’t meet these criteria."
* We call on the WCC to decide the details and disclose them before making the bylaw.
Our view is currently nine Councils across the country are in error. Wellington City Council does not need to follow the minority of the other nine Councils who have made an error of judgement.
We figure citizens who keep Cats will have two options if they presently keep more than three Cats.
* You can either keep your head down and behave as though you are living in occupied Europe during World War Two and pray that your neighbors do not act as informants to the eco-gestapo.
* Alternatively you can take your chances with these totalitarians and apply for permission to keep more than three Cats. If they don't like the look of you, they immediately put an ultimatum on you to get rid of your family members by a due date.
If you do not comply, they then send around the 'muscle' to do it for you.
Not a pretty picture WCC, and bound to get you way offside with many ratepayers.
We asked: "Do you expect citizens to decide which three Cats they will keep and then euthenase the others?"
In a private email message Council staff have answered no to this question.
* 'Compulsory Identification By Microchip, Collar, Tattoo'
We asked: "How do you expect to determine which Cats have a microchip and which Cats do not have a microchip?"
We haven't had a clear reply to this question either, so the answer appears to be:
Either the proposed bylaw is an unenforceable one, in which case they should have figured that out by now, and like the idea of a curfew they would have figured the idea of compulsory microchipping cannot be enforced and backed off from the idea.
Or they intend to trap as many Cats as they can, scan them to see if they have a microchip, and execute all Cats who have no identification.
The Council states "Microchipping doesn’t hurt Cats". To that statement we reply and state there is a body of evidence that suggests microchips placed in animals are linked to the developments of cancerous tumors in some animals.
Why should we be required to risk the health and the lives of our beloved family members to satisfy totalitarians who wish to micromanage every facet of our lives?
We quote from the first article below:
"Published scientific studies and adverse microchip reports recorded by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association prove otherwise."
"Scientific studies involving mice and rats show that test animals have developed aggressive and lethal microchip-induced cancerous growths. Scientific reports also show that chipped zoo animals have developed microchip-associated cancerous growths. Medical reports and scientific studies also reveal that dogs and Cats have developed aggressive cancerous growths at the site of their microchip implants."
The Council is either grossly misinformed or outright lying with the statement "Microchipping doesn’t hurt Cats"
* "Microchipping doesn’t hurt Cats. It benefits owners, as it enables their Cats to be returned to them if lost or injured."
* It didn't help Teddy, who not only was microchipped, but also was wearing a collar. How can WCC staff or contractors be trusted? What happens now if WCC staff find a Cat that is dead or injured? What efforts are made to trace the owner?
We asked: "Will you send your agents to every household with a microchip reading device and demand citizens present their Cats for scanning?
As the Council have stated in their faq page "Any changes to the Animals Bylaw would be enforced similarly to other bylaws – they would be enforced reactively", the answer to this question is no. It appears the Council simply plans to place traps all over the place, catch every Cat they can, traumatise each of them by the act of trapping them and execute any Cat they catch who does not have a form of identification.
On the matter of identification tattoos, the Council have stated "The Council is not consulting on tattooing of Cats." Yet we have this article dated 17 March 2016 which states otherwise. We quote from the article: "Iona Pannett, the council's environment committee chairwoman, said ID collars were the least preferred option, because they could come off. While tattooing Cats sounded extreme, council staff had assured her it could be done, she said. "It seems extraordinary, but it would certainly get around the problem of not being able to identify your Cat."
Our secretary has written to journalist Michael Forbes requesting confirmation that the above quote from the Environment Committee Chair is an accurate quote, but Forbsie has declined to reply. Thus we were left wondering if the article is one where media sensationalisation is a factor, or if the Council got so much unendearing mail following the publication of the article they decided to do a u-turn on the idea of identification tattoos. Then the supporter who has kindly contributed to this page drew our attention to the Statement and Proposal Document available for download from the WCC website, where we found written confirmation that tattooing of Cats for identification purposes had indeed been considered as an option.
* "The Council is not consulting on tattooing of Cats."
* Tattooing is stated as an option in table 2 of the Statement of Proposal, and is not clearly ruled out. Both the Statement of Proposal and the document "Proposed changes for Cat owners" are badly written, poorly set out, and confusing.
* "Details on implementation of the two proposed changes have not been finalised.
* "For example, it is expected that the Public Health Team would run any administration, but this has yet to be formally decided."
* Keeping of large numbers of Cats in unsanitary conditions may be a public health matter, but is microchipping of Cats a public health matter?
The WCC does not say how much its proposals would cost.
We asked: "Do you plan to engage in trapping Cats?
This question really does open a large can of worms and it's a question we would not be asking if the Council had not drawn attention to itself by crossing the line and attempting to implement restrictions on domestic Cats. By attempting to place restrictions on domestic Cats and those citizens who keep them, the Council has drawn attention to itself and it's nefarious activities.
To quote from the document "Greater Wellington – Regional Pest Management Strategy", Section 12.1 (p113-114)
"Greater Wellington shall undertake direct control of feral and unwanted Cats by service delivery as part of the integrated pest management of Key Native Ecosystems and other selected sites" (p113)
"Greater Wellington shall record number of feral Cats controlled for biodiversity enhancement purposes" (p114)
SO IT SEEMS THEY ARE ALREADY ENGAGED IN KILLING CATS!
THEY ARE ALSO KEEPING A RECORD OF THE CATS THEY KILL
You can wrap it up in sanitized corporate jargon, but it still amounts to wholesale slaughter. We wonder how many of the domestic Cats presently listed as missing have already been scooped up in this indiscriminate extermination dragnet?
The blood of innocents is on the hands of everyone with the slightest involvement in the matter.
So here's a new question for the Council - Can we have a copy of the record?
We'd like that information, and once we get it we'll publish it here, so everyone that visits our website knows exactly how many Cats you are slaughtering in the name of 'conservation'.
We asked: "Or will you outsource such work to the eco-brownshirts of Gareth Morgan's Halo Campaign or other similar eco-extremist organisations? The Council have stated "Sometimes Cats are live-trapped within reserve areas when complaints have been received from members of the public. The work is currently carried out by Wellington City Council staff in conjunction with staff from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington SPCA and local veterinary clinics."
As the Council have not actually denied the possibility of engaging volunteers from the Halo Campaign or other similar eco-extremist organisations to assist in the trapping and execution of Cats, we believe they may well do just that.
We asked: "If you do plan to engage in trapping Cats do you intend issuing infringement notices and financial penalties to the 'owners' of those Cats captured which do have identification?
The Council state: "There are currently no plans to issue financial penalties to the owners whose Cats have breached the bylaw conditions." Keyword here is 'currently'. Do not be surprised if like an act of silent flatulence they sneak through an amendment which allows them to issue infringement notices and financial penalties at a later date.
We asked: "If you do plan to engage in trapping Cats, what will you do to those Cats you capture that do not have identification?
We asked: "Do you plan to execute Cats that do not have identification?
The Council have replied thus "Cats that are able to be identified are returned to their owners. Other Cats that are friendly are rehomed through organisations such as the SPCA. In some circumstances Cats that do not have identification, exhibit feral characteristics and that are assessed to be unsuitable to rehome may be euthanized."
We believe any Cat that has first been trapped and then is approached by cold hearted individuals who know nothing of Cats will 'exhibit feral characteristics'. This a natural instinctual response from a Cat who's life is under threat. Let's be clear, any individuals you hire or contract to trap and kill Cats are going to be some of the nastiest cold hearted people around. If they were anyone other than cold hearted cruel individuals they would not be taking on the job in the first place.
We asked: "If so, by what methods do you plan to execute Cats that do not have identification?
The Council cites "The Animal Welfare (Companion Cats) Code of Welfare 2007 sets out what must be done with any Cats that are caught in this way".
We assume it is Section 13 to which the Council refers, where it is stated "Any trapped Cat must be provided with basic care to meet the requirements of the Act or be released if it is uninjured or be killed humanely if it is a feral Cat. Let's get one thing straight about this question we are asking WCC.
We are not actually asking for the legal reference, we are asking you about operational procedure.
So how are you going to do it? or how are you already doing it? Vet's Blue Needle? Shoot them while still in the cage without bothering to check for identification like the park rangers did to Teddy the Cat in Auckland, is that what you call 'humanely'? Or are you following historical totalitarianist practice to the letter and engaged in the process of building the gas chambers as we write?
* We say: the proposals are unfair, unworkable, uncosted, and unclear. Without the information, it's not "consultation".