20 Nov 12 @ 11:32am by Paula Maud

IMAGE ABOVE: Dean Nicholson with Charlie, the son of Bubba, who was euthanised after being trapped in a neighbour’s cat trap. Picture: ANGIE BASDEKIS.

Dean Nicholson with Charlie, the son of Bubba, who was euthanised after being trapped in a neighbour’s cat trap. Picture: ANGIE BASDEKIS.

THE practice of trapping cats on suburban blocks has been caned by a pet defender.

Anne Greenaway, a principal with Lawyers for Companion Animals, said the accidental trapping of an elderly cat in Reservoir in September was an example of how the practice could go wrong.

Dean Nicholson’s 15-year-old cat, Bubba, was desexed and had the tell-tale ear tattoo of a domestic pet, but was neither microchipped nor registered and was not wearing a collar when she was trapped in the yard of a neighbour on September 7.

Mr Nicholson said when he rescued Bubba 15 years ago there had been no legal requirement to microchip pet cats.

Mr Nicholson learned Bubba was collected by a council ranger a day after her disappearance and transported to the Lost Dogs’ Home where she was promptly put down.


Should residents be allowed to trap cats? Tell us below.

Darebin Council’s manager of economic development and civic compliance, Eddy Boscariol urged residents to microchip and register pets with up-to-date details to prevent such incidents occurring.

He said the council had been advised that the cat had been euthanased for humane reasons as it had been found to be diseased.

Lost Dogs’ Home general manager Sue Conroy said Bubba would have been assessed by two vets before a decision was made about her fate.

“The last thing they (the vets) want to do is to put down someone’s pet,” Ms Conroy said.

But Mr Nicholson insisted his cat had been in good health at the time of her capture.

“She would sleep in my bed and wait for me when I got home,” Mr Nicholson said. “We were really connected.”

Mr Boscariol said cat trapping by residents was permitted in order to catch strays.

“Section 23 of the Domestic Animals Act 1994 allows the owner or occupier of private property to trap cats that trespass on their property,” he said.

But Ms Greenaway said some people used baits to entice cats onto their property and both loved family pets and stray cats were being caught in the traps.

“There is no way of distinguishing between an unowned cat and a family pet which is what occurred in this case,” she said.


Shari Goodwin writes:
Posted on 27 Nov 12 at 04:27pm

This is horrid! I am in tears! A sad loss! My heart goes out to the owner!

Kathleen Chapman writes:
Posted on 26 Nov 12 at 03:20pm

It is tragic and shameful that the Bubba, a cat who was loved and cared for, was killed within 24 hours of entering the Lost Dogs’ Home I am appalled that Darebin ratepayers’ are paying this organisation for animal management. I would like to see Darebin Council demand that the Lost Dogs Home take action to reduce its extremely high kill rate, and use another contractor for animal management if significant improvement is not made. Other pounds in Australia and overseas, such as the RSPCA shelter in the ACT, and the pound operated by the Animal Welfare League of QLD on the Gold Coast, manage to save more than 90% of all animals entering their shelters. This hasn’t occurred by accident – it has been achieved by implem enting a range of actions that have been proven time and time again to save lives. It involves working in partnership with animal rescue groups, actively promoting animal adoption in local media, doing a high number of desexing surgeries at low cost, and, as the Lost Dogs’ Home should have done in Bubba’s case – doing everything possible to ensure lost animals are reunited with their guardians. The animals of Darebin deserve no less.

Animal Rights and Rescue group writes:
Posted on 25 Nov 12 at 05:11pm

Victoria’s Domestic Animal Act 1994 was from the start was quickly tagged the ‘nuisance dog and cat Act’ due to the overall negatives about pets and the use of employed contractors to pick up stray cats and then target managed and cared for cat colonies. Mr Nicholson claim that older cats were exempt in the Act from chipping correct and same in NSW Companion animal Act 1999 at the start. A later amendment to the Act in NSW also removed this exemption for older cats BUT how is the public to know this, even rescue groups struggle to keep informed. Giving the public or contractors power to trap domestic cats (then present them as stray/feral) to a pound or shelter LDH in this case is a death sentence. But any shelter with knowledge and compassion would recognise a well cared for mature desexed (ear tatoo) as a loved pet and hold for maximum time at least. Large rescue groups could also run a lost/found program and advertise if they really cared. Animal welfare groups acting as pounds is a conflict of interest and the animals always lose.

Carol Cornish writes:
Posted on 23 Nov 12 at 02:27pm

This is so wrong in every way. Can’t imagine the pain of losing a family member of 15 years. Bubba was scared in a storm. What right did they have to kill Bubba?

None… They have no heart, and this makes me sick!

Doug sethton writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 10:59pm

This is an horrific story and I feel so sad for the man who lost his friend. It is awful. But please be careful to understand what or who may be at fault. It is not the practice of trapping stray cats…..nor lost dogs home who are a pound and need to deal with hundreds of stray cats per week that they have no chance of homing. It is the individuals who sometimes do the wrong thing. If some one catches a cat that is desexed they MUST ask around to find out if anyone owns it before taking it to the pound. I do a lot of cat rescue and rehoming in Melbourne and I know that people dump cats, mistreat them and more. The cat overpopulation problem is growing and is a big issue that we need to address. Rescue groups are full and pounds are faced with a difficult situation. There is more to this situation than meets the eye and you have to be careful in judging.

Orlando Browning writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 10:00pm

My heart goes out to the owner of this cat, and I am disgusted by some of the comments which show a lack of compassion. What sort of a society do we live in, when a neighbour is allowed to trap a cat. The neighbour should be prosecuted, and trapping should be a crime, except for TNR. I am tired of the psychotic cat haters in our society, it is well evidenced, that there is a link between animal cruelty and crimes towards humans.

Naomi Steinberg writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 09:05pm

This is so sad….what is wrong with people that they would do this to cats? There was no reason to trap the kitty, and no reason to put it down. If you see a cat in your neighborhood you think might be stray, knock on your neighbor’s doors and ask. If you feel you have to, take it in and put posters up, but for goodness sake, don’t trap it if the end result will be it going to a kill shelter. Trapping cats in anything but the most humane circumstances (any type of cat) should be considered animal cruelty and prosecuted unless conducted in the most humane way (trap watched non-stop and being done for welfare reasons in relation to that cat).

Julie Milne writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 01:49pm

If an animal has the tattoo in their ear surely that is enough to make the powers that be wait at least the 7 day period!! I get requests to support these places monetarily but am having 2nd thoughts now that is for sure!!! Why didn’t the neighbour look for the owner before sending the cat off anyway? SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!

N Miles writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 09:10am

@Christy you need to familiarize yourself with the laws in Victoria instead of being an arm chair critic from Perth Western Australia and making not a lot of sense. Not sure why you are posting shelter phone numbers for Shelters in Western Australia you do realize this is Victoria?

Rachel writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 07:00am

While it is sad that this cat was euthanased it could so easily have been avoided by microchipping it or getting it to wear a collar and tag. Why do owners not get the message, especially with cats. It is not rocket science!! I am sure the Lost Dogs Home has to make some hard decisions at times, and probably are not happy to be in the position where they have to make that decision, it is easy for people to sit back and point the finger! Identification people, do it!!

Steve writes:
Posted on 21 Nov 12 at 06:32am

Short and sweet.

Obviously this is a sad story, and horrible for the owner.

But if the cat was microchipped, he WOULD have been contacted by council/LDH.

End of story.

Cheryl Venables writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 11:54pm

There is a percentage of pets where the microchip is not found although I agree they should be microchipped I have heard some vets don’t actively promote it and I know when I spoke to the Council about my cat who was born before that date they said no need to register???!!!s Therefore what is the message the public is getting here? cat should be allowed in a garden sometimes they go next door – depending on the suburb if there is a lot of bush area or heavy traffic yes agree to have enclosures otherwise why should they not enjoy sunshine in their garden. I have seen many cats on pound websites in western Sydney looking well fed and cared for that are scared and get put down or if kept for a few days the legal 7 in nsw without chips become friendly – something is wrong that so many are being brought into the pounds.

Tashi writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 10:31pm

This man was not irresponsible. His cat escaped during a storm. He did every thing he could to find it. Pity those who found it didn’t do the same to find the owner. Shame on some of the people commenting on here. Yes, she should have been chipped and/or registered but hindsight is a wonderful thing. The fact remains that both the council and the LDH are in the wrong here and should be held accountable. One day it might be your pet.

Kate Fitzhenry writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 09:37pm

Domestic pet trapping should be outlawed, there are far too many animal haters, who willingly trap animals to harm them, or to get rid of them. TNR is different, cats are trapped by qualified rescuers who are trying to save the cats, and prevent litters of stray kittens.

The LDH should be investigated, it should have done everything possible to reunite Bubba with her owner. I feel heartfelt sympathy for the owner of Bubba, I know how I would feel if this had happened to one of my cats.

Tarsha writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 08:39pm

Please all write to Lost Dogs Home and ask why this mans cats will killed. This could be your cat or dog next, your mums cat, your neighbors cat. This is not an isolated case.

Rachel writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 08:21pm

I am horrified, but sadly not surprised, that the LDH would flout the law like this. It is a disgrace and it is past time their practises were scrutinised and held to account.

What I am shocked by is the staggering lack of empathy demonstrated by some of the commenters here. Yes, there unfortunately are irresponsible people who allow undesexed animals to roam all over the place. But there is no evidence that Mr Nicholson allowed his cats to roam at will. Bubba escaped during a storm; she was frightened and ended up in a neighbour’s trap. One of my indoor only cats escaped from my mother’s house while I was on holidays last year – tragically she was killed by a car after two weeks on the run (and while we were frantically searching for her). I guess that makes my mum and me “irresponsible pet owners” who deserve what we get too, does it? Taking the argument to its logical extension, maybe Sian the proponent of cat traps is “irresponsible” for keeping her goldfish in an outdoor pond instead of an indoor aquarium! Or maybe don’t assume that the grieving owner and innocent victim of a high kill pound’s policies was somehow at fault, but assign blame where it belongs.

Jennifer Kaschau writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 07:20pm

How wrong to do this!! My cat had FIV but was not sick..so just kill them huh..and insult their owners who love them? No. It is unethical to do this, we look for our pets if they happen to wander…and shame and damn the council to hell for saying whatever they like to get away with killing a family member.

Glenys Wright writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 06:57pm

i find this totally disgusting for a neighbour to intrap a neighbours cat and to have it then picked up by the pound and put down. i bet this neighbour knew who’s cat it was, gone are the days when our dearly loved animals can roam there own propertys or visit the neighbours as well. i have neighbours animals come to my property but not once do i think about calling the pound to come and collect i know who’s animals they are in my street and i am quite happy for them to visit then see them safely back to there home, i too have 2 cats one will not venture out of house into front yard at all, she will stay within my property but her brother will roam, the neighbours and street catching ferral rats bringing them home to be praised, he is much loved, and i would be devasted if he went to go missing, but he always returns home, shame on cruel heartless people who hate animnals that much that take away an elderly person beloved companion

Chinka chink writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 06:27pm

LDH have killed this pet cat before the 8 day holding period stating the cat had cat flu. So LDH don’t have adequate isolation facilities???? $12,000,000 and no isolation facility??? We don’t believe for a minute this cat was sick but if it was, LDH with all it’s millions should be set up to cater for an unwell cat for a few days

leanne writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 06:12pm

Its discusting to say the very least.i have 2cats and 2 dogs all microchipped and desexed..i keep my cats indoors and my dogs in a secure backyard . however there has been a ccupple of times they have escaped the cats sliding thru someones legs or the dogs doin g the same……….only a couple of times a big mistake to say the least…i have also had a car accident no fault of my own!!! If my animals accidently get out id like to think i would sbe able to collect them with out fear of them being put down .being so scared mayb they would bite out of fear which i think is understandable thats why they have muzzles as for my cats they know only me and yes i think they would scratch tooo and be so terrified they would probly say they were feral………when these people meet our maker god will deal out the punishment….. I believe in life after death and reincarnation so what goes around in this life you will pay for in your next because these people that think killing these animals is ok have not evolved from there last visit on earth…

christy writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 04:14pm

Sian there is no laws to say your cat or any other cat is not allowed to wander so there is no justification for trapping a cat. If you have a cat problem it should be handled by an experienced person like the rangers are supposed to be certiified for this job not fob it of to vigilantes and it should be done in accordance with the cat trapping guidelines. You cannot take the law into your own hands and not one person involved in this has acted in accordance with the law. Again Josie it is not up to the public to enforce the law that is why we have people designated to administer the law. Also there is not reason to trap a cat if it is roaming it is quite within the law. A nuisance doesn’t mean death it means you deal with it within the law. If you took all the cats off the street you would have a huge rabbit, rat and mice problem as has been shown in many studies. Cataphobia should not lead to the automatic kill of all cats.

karen writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 03:30pm

No what a horrible person…Don’t tell me the cat dug a hole…Oh my lord how awful!!!!!

N Miles writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:56pm

This owner is clearly irresponsible. What kind of irresponsible owner lets their cat roam the streets? Cats are companion animals and as such deserve to be treated as such. Owners who let their cats roam are putting the cat at risk of being run over, infected with feline aids, cat flu, and or being the target of animal cruelty. Aside from all of these terrible risks it is illegal to let your cat trespass onto other peoples properties. If you love your cat please keep it confined to your premises for not only its own safety and well being but also to protect our native wildlife.

Tarsha writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:35pm

This is a major problem in most pounds, including the no kill/low kill pounds and shelters.I have spoken to numerous staff/volunteers from many pounds who all say a cat that comes in that appears scared, timid, unowned, wild, feral or diseased is not held for 8 days, they are killed upon arrival as it is seen as an occupational health and safety issue for staff to deal with these cats. In Victoria the Code of Practice for the Management of Shelters and Pounds states: 2.2 Admission: unidentified cat that is wild, uncontrollable or diseased may be euthanased in accordance with the Domestic Animals Act 1994. Lost Dogs Home will milk this loophole in the COP as do other pounds. Once the animal is killed they have disposed of all evidence, who is to say the cat was wild or diseased, the pounds don’t have to provide proof. This tragic story from Preston will be one cat owners word against LDH and 2 vets.

CARMEN costello writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:25pm

Oh how I wept for that poor darling cat old, alone, scared and the pain of the injection and the poor dad. We as a people are getting more and more wicked and cruel each passing day. It is like an insanity has taken us over with the killing of animals. Not to wait the 8 days is appalling, but the person probably wanted their ‘fix’ their ‘high’ for the day, that they get from killing the animals. One day these people will have to face all these animals, they think they wont, got news for them. And they will have to get on bended knee to BEG forgiveness. Polish your dancing shoes you b*&^!+>s, as you will be dancing for a long time in hell with the devil!

Renee Robinson writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:20pm

I think this is a lesson for everybody to keep your pets confined to your property. Long gone are the days where cats in suburbia can roam the neighbourhood. Install a cat enclosure, or net the whole backyard in and even safer still is keeping your cat indoors! Another lesson learnt the hard way is for everybody to microchip their animals… dogs and cats lose collars all the time, the only effective means of identification is microchipping. Keeping cats safely confined protects them from costly abscesses (as a result of fighting with other cats), being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, tortured or hurt, reduces the spread and risk of FIV, FeLV and in this case, from being trapped and PTS. All these scenario’s make vets rich and owners poor. Take responsibility for your own animals, don’t look to blame others. A sad story all round and lessons learnt the hard way.

Susan Taylor writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:13pm

Why wasnt this cat held for the mandatory 8 days? As someone who works rescuing animals from council pounds, I see a lot of beautiful healthy cats, who are clearly loved pets, in pounds. These cats have been trapped by neighbours and taken to the pound. Unfortunately most go unclaimed and are put down. It is difficult for an owner to find a lost cat once it’s in the pound system. In my opinion people shouldn’t be allowed to trap cats either on or off their property, unless they are doing so with their neighbours knowledge and under the supervision of council or another governing body.

christy writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:08pm

continued RSPCA trapping guidelines.CAT TRAPS GUIDE

5. If the cat is not identified endeavour to locate the owner by doorknocking / letterbox drops in your local area. 6. If the owner cannot be located then endeavour to rehome the cat (eg. advertise, contact Cat Haven, contact RSPCA, check your local vet). 7. Ensure that any caught cats are provided with sufficient food and water. 8. Any lactating cat caught in a trap should be released, unless the kittens can also be located and removed as well. 9. In the event the cat needs to be destroyed then take it to your local vet for humane euthanasia. Do not destroy the cat yourself – as techniques such as striking or drowning are unacceptable and may constitute an offence under the Animal Welfare Act. If in doubt – contact the RSPCA for further advice, on 08-9209 9300

christy writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 02:06pm


If it becomes necessary to trap a cat then the following procedures should be carefully followed to ensure the cat is treated humanely. Any ill-treatment of cats may be an offence under the Animal Welfare Act and be subject to prosecution. 1. Use only approved cage traps. Do not use leg-hold or body-grip traps or snares. 2. Ensure the cage is suitably covered to provide any contained cats with protection from the elements. 3. Ensure the cage is regularly checked (at least twice per day) so that caught cats are not caged for extended periods. 4. Check any caught cats for identification and contact the owner. Note: Some cats may be identified with a microchip; which can only be read with a scanner – available at most vets and Council / Shire Rangers. continued…

Dean Nicholson writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 01:48pm

The night Bubba ran out the front door was 6th September during a very wild storm.The person that trapped her said that they were after a black cat that had come into her property and was spraying.My cat Bubba was white.They also said that they had never seen my cat before until the day she was trapped.The law says that the cat must`ve entered your property more than once before they can be trapped.

Susan Borg writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 12:53pm

I hope one day that one of u cats doesn’t run out ur door then get trapped, then get PTS..Sian. What ever happened to talking to ur neighbours & saying, Ive got a problem with ur cat, its coming on my property & eating my goldfish etc..then if the neighbour doesn’t do anything then they have the right to trap it. But please its someone loved animal. The poor old girl probably had her little routine everyday went for her little walk & wouldnt hurt a fly..My cat is desexed & he still likes to go out every morning & say hello to the neighbours then sleep on their sunny bit of grass, then at 11 am comes home & sleeps on my sunny step. I thought they had 7days if they’re not Micro/chipped & 14days if M/C…Some humans are awful & cold, its a bloody cat, not a rapist or murder..

Glen writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 12:25pm

Animals are wonderful critters however, you should be responsible for your animals and considerate of your neighbors. I happen to be a dog lover. My neighbor’s cats come on my property and eat my dog food that I put out for my dogs. If the animals are for your enjoyment keep them on your property and take care of them.

Trapping should be allowed and the authorities given the right to ticket any animal owner who cannot control their animals. The neighbor’s cats have scratched my grandchildren in my yard.

Dean Nicholson writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 12:00pm

I`m Dean Nicholson the owner of Bubba and I would like to say that she was a happy healthy cat and therefore should not have been put down the morning that she was brought in to the Lost Dogs Home.They are supposed to have an eight day policy of holding on to a lost cat chipped or not.After eight days they are then put up for adoption.The excuse I was given was she had cat flu.Also why do they not have any record of my cat being brought in by the Darebin Council?From a phone call I made to Darebin Council three days after she went missing I was told no cat was collected in my area on the day that she was collected and taken to LDH.The key point I want to make is the community expects that if their pet disappears and happens to have been taken by the council to the LDH that the owner has eight days to collect their pet.Furthermore,we don`t expect that they will destroy the pet immediately using as their defence that the cat has cat flu or/and that the cat is feral.There is clearly a major problem with the way the LDH process lost animals.Dean Nicholson.

Charlotte Armstrong writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 11:11am

To allow the public to trap animals is totally wrong. Ms Greenaway is correct in saying that this allows neighbours to entice cats into their gardens and then trap them.

The person who trapped the cat should have had the decency to have checked with the neighbours before sending the cat to its death.

As for the Lost Dogs Home trying to justify the killing. They never gave the owner the chance to reclaim the cat. They have been totally irresponsible and negligent in their thoughtless decision. This is not the first time they have killed a family pet and will probably not be the last.

Rose Lloyd writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 10:34am

This is unbelievably tragic. The fact that this lovely pet was wearing a collar should have given the poor cat at least a few days grace, so the owner could have a chance to find her. If the cat was examined by a vet, why didn’t they see the ear tattoo, and therefore wait a while before euthanizing her? This is a perfect example of why people should NOT be allowed to trap animals. New guidelines should be introduced NOW so vets, pounds and shelters must allow mandatory waiting periods before putting animals down. How heartbreaking.

Karina writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 10:15am

This poor elderly cat was killed for no reason,this poor owner must be devastated!!!The Lost dogs home are coming unstuck as i was a supporter until i found out that they kill so many healthy cats and dogs every year!!!Cat trapping is something that is clearly not right,think how this poor old cat must of been so stressed and then died without her owner there,just with strangers!!!It’s heartbreaking and no one has the right to do that,no one!!!!The LDH have alot to answer for!!!

Nichole Helm writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 10:02am

I would like to see photographs, pathology and vet opinions and recommendations on this cat’s “diseased” condition. An elderly cat is EXEMPT from microchipping laws, in which case there should have been a mandatory holding period to allow the LEGAL OWNER of this cat, to find it. The cat was not doing anything it shouldn’t have been, and to be trapped in a neighbors yard would qualify as entrapment in my opinin, or could you take my kids bu putting a display of lollies in my neighbors yard? Lost dogs home… SHAME on you all! I’d like to see this man sue your asses off, how devastating!

Sian writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 09:55am

Yes you should be able to trap animals on your land. As someone who has had their own inside cats terrorised by a neighbour’s cat not to mention it keeps EATING our goldfish in our pond and spraying everything around my house, I think we are totally within our rights to trap it and take it to the authorities. People need to take more responsibility with their pets.

If the owners don’t microchip or tag their pet and let it wander the streets unsupervised then its their own fault if it gets taken to the pound. What happens when it gets to the pound is nothing to do with who trapped it and turned it in and everything to do with the owner and Council policy.

Josie Mcpherson writes:
Posted on 20 Nov 12 at 09:45am
Actually there is Annie – it is called microchipping and registering the pets, which is the law to have a cat – had this cat been chipped, then when it had been caught, it would have been easily detected when the cat was examined, and the cat could quite quickly have been reunited with its owner thanks to the owners details held on the chip register. If anything, this is a call for all pet owners to ensure they have done the right thing in having their cats chipped (many councils have reduced fee days for this to be done, so is very easily arranged), and yearly registration fees should be paid for any cats or dogs kept by a resident, with numbers owned in accordance with council regulations. Whilst I feel for the owner of the cat having lost his girl in this way, the fact remains that it could have been avoided quite easily by him.

The problem though of stray and feral cats roaming, particularly if they are undesexed, is a big one, and disallowing cat traps is not the answer, as these are an important tool in being able to catch these cats that would otherwise avoid capture, and then remain a problem in the area.


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