RSPCA alarmed by feline AIDS rate

ALARMING instances of feline AIDS have sparked another warning to Warrnambool residents not to allow their pet cats to roam at night and cause wildlife destruction.

The Warrnambool  RSPCA animal shelter has found 30 per cent of cats tested for AIDS produced a positive result.

“It was a lot higher than I expected,” the shelter’s manager Tracey Scott told The Standard yesterday.

“Mostly it was males which contracted feline AIDS.

“This highlights the problems when people don’t desex their cats. 

“They get injured in fights with other cats, attacked by other animals or get hit by cars.

"We now have 85 animals in the shelter, mostly cats, but by Christmas there will be well over 100."

“Despite the desexing message, I don’t believe there’s been an increase in take-up during the seven years I’ve been here.”

City councillor Jacinta Ermacora has called for pet owners to heed legislation requiring cats to be kept under control between dawn and dusk.

Offenders can be fined $289.

“A cat roaming on its own is not under control,” she said.

“The reason this law is in place is to protect baby animals and birds and limit the breeding of feral cats.

“If people are thinking about a cat at Christmas they should ensure it is desexed and that it will be controlled and in an enclosure.

“If they are not prepared to do this they should consider their views on the environment.”

Ms Scott said Christmas brought a sad influx to the animal shelter of unwanted pets, particularly cats.

“This peaks on Christmas Eve as people head off on holidays and realise they haven’t found anywhere to leave their animals.

“It’s really depressing to see. We now have 85 animals in the shelter, mostly cats, but by Christmas there will be well over 100.

“Some are dumped in boxes at our door, but the animals usually escape and become strays.

“We have to be here every day, including Christmas Day, to look after the animals.”

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