Cat owners could challenge Council microchip plan

Cat owners could challenge Council microchip plan

Wellington City Council has been threatened with legal action if it goes ahead with a bylaw that would make microchips compulsory for cats.

Cat owner and former campaign manager for Celia Wade-Brown, Kent Duston, said there's no proof microchips protect wildlife or that the bylaw would fix the problems it aims to address.  He threatened to seek a judicial review if compulsory microchipping goes ahead.

"It needs to pass the common sense test, if we microchip all cats how many birds will it save?"

He said council doesn't have the legal authority to protect wildlife.

Mayor Wade-Brown is backing the call to make microchipping compulsory.

But Councillor Helene Ritchie calls it "bad law that will attract significant legal challenge.  I can see an Island Bay fiasco".

Ms Ritchie was referring to the much-disputed Island Bay cycle way.

The Cat Management Strategy Group told Council all owned and valued cats should be microchipped, which it said is the only reliable form of identification. The group foresees other organisations, other than vets, also being able to microchip cats.

Councillors voted 10-3 in favour of compulsory microchipping of cats. Councillors Jo Coughlan, Helene Ritchie and Nicola Young voted against the amendment. 

A final decision has to be confirmed at a full council meeting on August 17.

Microchips are the size of a piece of long grain rice.  Microchipping is estimated to cost between $30-$60.