Your worst nightmare. Right here. Right now.
Imagine this. Your beloved timid, desexed and microchipped cat is missing. They walk into a council trap for food. They spend the night thrashing in the metal trap trying to get out, panicked and alone.
In the morning, the ranger collects the trap. They shake the trap and perhaps poke your cat with a steel rod to assess whether they are ‘feral’ or not. Your frightened cat isn’t thrilled with this – they feel threatened and do what any frightened animal does. So the ranger puts them in a crush cage, then scans for a microchip.
It doesn’t show up.
Not only has your cat failed the ‘shake then poke with a steel rod’ test, they’re deemed to be unowned.
In a nutshell, your timid, desexed and microchipped cat has, overnight, become ‘feral’.
Off with their head
The ranger – not a vet – draws up a Lethabarb overdose into a syringe and pounds it into your cat, breaking through several layers of muscle, with no sedation. They suffer a horrific, pain-filled, violent death, terrified and alone, away from the one they love and the one who loves them.
Or crush their leg
If your cat won’t go into the trap, they are instead subjected to a foot hold trap. When they step on the trap, heavy jaws clamp violently on their delicate leg and crush it. Your cat is left like that all night, in agony with a broken leg, unable to move, before a ranger shoots them in the head in the morning.
You call the pound
First thing in the morning, you call the pound to see if your cat is there. You’re too late. Before the pound even opens, the ranger has ‘assessed’ your cat, deemed that they’re both unowned and ‘feral’ and killed them.
Being timid isn’t a crime
Being lost, or being timid, shouldn’t be a crime punishable by death, let alone a terrifying pain-filled death. Yet in Brisbane City Council, it is.
But their microchip will save them
“They’re microchipped,” you say. “Surely the council would tell me if they had trapped my lost cat?”
Not necessarily. A microchip may not show up when a cat is in a crush cage or a trap. If they scanned your cat after they killed them, would they be likely to tell you? Probably not. Imagine the public relations disaster it would cause.
You never see your precious cat again. The council never tells you they’ve killed them. No shelter is informed. And to this day, you are haunted by what might have happened to them.
Surely not in Australia?!
“Well maybe this might happen in another country”, you say, “but surely not in Australia?”
Unbelievably, it is happening. Right here, right now, every week. In Brisbane City Council.
Brisbane City Council is killing cats. Any cat. Owned cats. Unowned cats. Lost cats. It has decided that any cat on the street who doesn’t act friendly when shaken and poked with a steel rod is ‘feral’.
It even gives the ‘feral’ label to tiny, helpless kittens – babies who are just hours old – solely because they’ve labelled their Mum ‘feral’.
What’s wrong with Brisbane City Council’s approach?
How long have you got?
1. The ‘shake then poke with a steel rod’ test is inaccurate
A timid owned cat, an unowned cat and a so-called ‘feral’ cat all behave similarly when frightened. They hiss. They growl. They spit. They may lunge.
Brisbane City Council isn’t allowing cats time to calm down after being left exposed in a trap all night before doing their ‘shake and poke with a steel rod’ test. No eight day waiting period. Not even a three day waiting period. Just instant death.
Brisbane City Council’s ‘shake and poke with a steel rod’ test would never stand up in court. Cats would fair better if the ranger flipped a coin – at least they’d have a 50% chance of surviving.
2. Leg hold traps are barbaric
Subjecting any animal to a leg hold trap is barbaric. It isn’t supported by the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League Queensland.
3. Urban street cats aren’t ‘feral’
Brisbane City Council has misinterpreted Queensland legislation. It is deeming any seemingly unowned cat, living in suburbia, to be ‘feral’. Urban and semi-urban cats don’t meet the definition of feral. They live amongst people, deriving food and shelter from them, either directly or indirectly.
Brisbane City Council is using the ‘feral’ label to remove any right to a life, or even a humane death, for large numbers of cats.
4. They won’t allow rehoming
Brisbane City Council is refusing to allow rescue groups to remove unowned cats – not even tiny kittens – from the streets, get them desexed and responsibly rehome them in accordance with legislation.
For no cost to ratepayers or the council, volunteer-run and experienced rescue groups have offered to humanely trap cats in the Brisbane suburb of Coopers Plains. The thanks they’ve received for their kind offer? Threats of up to $378,450 in fines or three years in jail.
Unbelievably, two desexed and microchipped cats were actually seized from a private vet clinic by officers who claimed they were ‘feral’. Officers then forced this mother cat, Braveheart, and her four month old son, Miracle, to be held in separate traps for six long days, even though shelter cages were available.
You can help stop this
If Brisbane City Council gets away with this, other councils and states throughout Australia could adopt it as ‘the new normal’. We can’t let that happen – to cats, or to the people who care about them
Contact councillors and the CEO today
Please contact councillors and the CEO today and tell them this is not on. Here are some things you could mention. Please use your own words.
- Cease misinterpreting legislation Ask that they cease deeming unowned urban and semi urban cats as ‘feral’. These cats are dependent on humans for their survival, through food and shelter. They do not meet the definition of feral
- Transfer all cats to AWLQ Ask that they transfer trapped cats to the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ), for microchip scanning and assessment of rehoming potential
- Have AWLQ manage cat-related calls Ask that the council’s contracted organisation, AWLQ, responds to calls about cat-related concerns, rather than the council. AWLQ has experience in progressive urban cat management
- Care for cats for minimum three days If AWLQ isn’t used to care for trapped cats, require BCC to care for all cats for at least three days, ideally longer, in a humane shelter-type cage (not a trap or crush cage) before scanning for a microchip and ‘assessing’ the cat’s friendliness. Ask that they don’t use the meaningless ‘shake and poke with a steel rod’ test
- Support humane removal Ask that they support and fund shelters and rescue organisations in humanely trapping, desexing and rehoming unowned cats
- No foot hold traps Ask that they cease using foot hold traps altogether. No animal – feral or otherwise – should be subjected to these.
- No heartsticking Ask that they cease killing cats by heartsticking (aka intracardiac injection). Heartsticking is inhumane and is strongly opposed by many vets. It most certainly doesn’t meet the community’s expectations for minimising pain and suffering
- Cease ineffective and costly program Highlight that trapping and killing is a costly and ineffective way of managing stray cats. It has never worked anywhere in the world. Trap-neuter-return does work
- Cease misuse of ratepayer money If you are a Brisbane City Council resident, tell them that you don’t want your rates spent on an ineffective, inhumane and costly trap and kill program
- Support trap-neuter-return Ask that they support a scientific research pilot of trap-neuter-return, or trap-desex-adopt-return, focusing on an area with high numbers of stray cats. This is a proven method for humanely reducing stray cat numbers, without expensive and ineffective killing
Thank you for being their voice
Thank you for speaking up. We can’t let Brisbane City Council get away with this.
Or your council, and your cat, could be next.
Keep up to date with what Brisbane City Council is doing to cats by joining the Save Cats from Brisbane City Council Facebook page.
Light a candle
Rescuers are very traumatised by the questionable actions of Brisbane City Council.
Two desexed and microchipped cats, who escaped from their Coopers Plains home during a medical emergency, have disappeared and are presumed to have been killed. Other cats have been killed. Cats are still at risk.
Please light a cyber candle, or a real candle, to show your support for the cats and people in Brisbane City Council. If you include the words ‘Coopers Plains cats’ in your tribute, the people who are desperately trying to help them can see your candle and feel a much-needed embrace of kindness and love.
Who to contact
Please call, email or Facebook the people below. Calling will enable you to talk directly to a person. Emailing may lead to a form letter response.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk
T: 07 3403 4400
CEO Colin Jensen
T: 07 3403 8888
E: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Cr Steve Griffiths – councillor for Coopers Plains
T: 07 3403 1730
Cr Charles Strunk
Forest Lake Ward
T: 07 3407 1211
Cr Adrian Schrinner
T: 07 3407 1400
Cr Julian Simmonds (male)
Walter Taylor Ward
T: 07 3407 0005
Cr Amanda Cooper
Bracken Ridge Ward
T: 07 3667 6000
Cr Angela Owen
T: 07 3131 7022
Cr Vicky Howard
T: 07 3403 0254
Cr Ian McKenzie
T: 07 3403 2101
Cr Jared Cassidy
T: 07 3667 6011
Cr Ryan Murphy
T: 07 3407 8800
Cr Andrew Wines
T: 07 3407 2510
Cr David McLachlan
T: 07 3403 1095
Cr Krista Adams
Holland Park Ward
T: 3403 7791
Cr Steven Huang
T: 07 3407 8500
Cr Fiona King
T: 07 3407 0707
Cr Norm Wyndham
T: 07 3403 7690
Cr Shayne Sutton (female)
T: 07 3407 8200
Cr Adam Allan
T: 07 3403 2210
Cr Peter Matic
T: 07 3403 2520
Cr Kate Richards
T: 07 3407 0220
Cr Kim Marx (female)
T: 07 3407 0566
Cr Nicole Johnston
T: 07 3403 8605
Cr Jonathan Sri
The Gabba Ward
T: 07 3403 2165
Cr Steve Toomey
The Gap Ward
T: 07 3407 1900
Cr Peter Cumming
Wynnum Manly Ward
T: 07 3403 2180