Wairarapa News : January 30th 2013
3 WAIRARAPA NEWS, JANUARY 30, 2013 NEWS 4981199AB Too many feral felines Please pick me: SPCA Wairarapa volunteer Nicky Burt and manager Val Ball with two cats that are waiting to be rehomed. By PIERS FULLER Gareth Morgan might have put the proverbial among the pigeons calling for a ban on cats, but the cat problem has been bubbling away in Wairarapa for a long time. Val Ball of SPCA Wairarapa says we are at a crossroads in how we need to deal with our feline friends and their feral cousins. The SPCA struggles to desex and rehome all the cats that come through its care and yet too many cats continue to go into homes that cannot adequately look after them. She is calling for a public meet- ing with local vets and council involvement to address pressing cat problems, in three particular Wairarapa towns -- Masterton, Martinborough and Featherston -- which all have colonies of semi- wild cats causing a nuisance. Mrs Ball says there is a colony of cats in Martinborough that is based around Oxford St behind the Pukemanu Tavern and another in Featherston behind the video store. The colony in Masterton is based in Queen Elizabeth Park but roams from Queen St through to Lansdowne. While it is possible to remove colonies, she says it takes a con- certed effort and the co-operation of the community. One of the problems is that local people con- tinue to feed the cats and they become reliant on this. Mrs Ball says the SPCA can t be expected to tackle the com- munity s cat issues single-handed. She believes people need to put up their hands and the respective councils also need to contribute. Councils need to take some responsibility for the situation. We don t have the resources. If we could get a group of peo- ple in South Wairarapa willing to work with the SPCA. Somebody needs to take responsibility in the towns where they live, she says. Feral cats are the responsibility of the regional council and are treated as pests. Of the cats that the SPCA has had to deal with over December and January, 48 had been euthanised. The good news is that the SPCA manages to re-home around 75 per cent of its cats, which demon- strates that there are many Wairarapa people who are keen to give these unwanted creatures a new home. Mrs Ball believes steps to control the animals need to be improved. She agrees with the Australian concept of introducing curfews for cats so they can t hunt at night and thinks landlords should only allow desexed cats in their properties. She also believes that people should not be able to breed cats or dogs unless they are registered. During April and May the SPCA is subsidising cat desexing. For $30 people can get a voucher and take their cat to a participat- ing vet to get it desexed. IN BRIEF Helicopter called in Sticky road tar could be to blame after a motorcyclist crashed on a road near Eketahuna. The 43-year- old male suffered moderate rib injuries in the crash and was flown by rescue helicopter to Palmerston North Hospital at 3pm on Monday. He had slid out on North Rd, before skidding off the road and under a farm fence. Police say speed and alcohol were not involved, with a sticky road surface possibly to blame. The rider was in ''a lot of pain'' but conscious after the crash. Refused to leave A 16-year-old Masterton boy gate- crashed a party in Perry St on Sunday night and was arrested by police when he became confrontational and refused to leave. He has been referred to Youth Aid. Man falls off car A man was thrown from the bonnet of a car after an altercation with his partner just after 7am on Saturday. The two people had been arguing and the woman tried to leave the South Belt house in a car. According to police the man jumped on the bonnet when the woman attempted to drive away. He fell off onto the road and hit his head when she braked. Police and ambulance both attended. Assault charge laid A 23-year-old Masterton faces a charge of male assaults female after an incident at a High St house about 5pm on Sunday evening. The woman received minor bruises to her leg where she was allegedly kicked. Bike hits fence Two people were injured when their motorcycle crashed going around a bend near Mt Holdsworth just after midnight on Sunday morning. They were a 31-year-old man and 28-year-old woman, both from Wairarapa and neither rider was wearing a helmet, according to police. The bike, travelling along Mt Holdsworth Rd, took a corner and hit a farm wire fence. The injured woman walked about 20 minutes to get to the nearest house to raise the alarm. Total ban on hosing A total hosing ban is in place in Eketahuna due to ''rapidly dropping river levels'' and resource consent requirements. Motor display a fruitful fundraiser Tui Brewery raised more than $2000 for charity and donated hundreds of cans to the local food bank following its annual motor- ing display, Mangatainoka Motors, at the weekend. The event attracted 3000 visitors, the biggest crowd ever seen on site at the Mangatainoka- based brewery, and raised $2500 for Auckland s Starship Hospital as well as seeing an unpre- cedented number of people donate non-perishable food items to the Pahiatua food bank. We were completely overwhel- med by the response and generos- ity, says Tui HQ manager Jenny Holmes. We had an amazing turnout of vintage, classic and hot rod cars from all over the North Island, and a staggering turnout of motorcycles which were invited to the event for the first time. Now in its third year, Mangatainoka Motors is fast becoming a favourite on the motoring display calendar. This year s event featured food stalls provided by local com- munity groups and an old- fashioned show and shine for cars and motorcycles with prizes being awarded in each category. The weekend s Mangatainoka Motors kick starts Tui Brewery s Summer Series 2013. Other events include the Classic Hits Winery Tour (Feb 10), Super Rugby pre-season game between the Hurricanes and Chiefs (Feb 16), Race to the Brewery (Feb 23), Tunes under the Tower (Feb 24), Mangatainoka Open (March 9), Bush Cycle Tour (March 10), Bring the Keg Back to the Brew- ery race (March 24), Tunes Under the Tower (March 30), Tui Truck Stop Show and Shine (April 27) and Tunes Under the Tower (April 28). WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY Senior lecturer in zoology at the University of Otago Yolanda van Heezik supports Gareth Morgan in his campaign to raise aware- ness about the impacts that pet, stray, and feral cats have on our native wildlife. Dr von Heezik has reviewed three studies on the impact of cats on the environment and wildlife and thinks Mr Morgan s recommendations reasonable. Consider using a collar with a bell. Our research has shown they reduced catch by 50 per cent. There are other devices to curb cat predation, such as the CatBib and I suspect more in development. Consider keeping your cat inside at all times. This ruling is in effect already in some parts of Australia. And consider not replacing your cat when it eventually dies, she says. Landcare Research scientist -- biodiversity and conservation -- John Innes said cats are a prob- lem but need to be assessed with a range of other predatory species in New Zealand. I agree with the website that we need to control cats and rats together and recent thinking around a predator-free New Zea- land has always focused on sev- eral species, usually stoats, ship rats and possums. Whether mice, hedgehogs, Norway rats, ferrets, weasels and cats may yet be included is still unfolding.
January 23rd 2013
February 6th 2013