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Claws out after council sends fine to catless home owner

Geoff Melksham with the council fine for an unregistered cat - but he says he doesn't own a cat.
Geoff Melksham with the council fine for an unregistered cat - but he says he doesn't own a cat. Alistair Brightman

A URANGAN fisherman who says he doesn't own a cat is questioning the council pet registration crackdown after finding a $220 fine in his letterbox.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council began doorknocking homes this month in a bid to locate and punish pet owners who refuse to register their animals.

Geoff Melksham said he was puzzled to discover the infringement notice in his letterbox because he doesn't own a pet and the fine was made out to someone else.

"A couple of things that really upset me is the council should be talking to people and asking if the pet is theirs before they issue an infringement notice," Mr Melksham said.

"And not only that, this is a family trust house, and at the end of the day the ticket's not even in my name ... it's in my sister's name and she doesn't live here."

Mr Melksham said his fishing gear often caused cats to wander on to his property looking for scraps and he believed compliance officers could have mistaken a stray as a pet.

Fraser Coast Regional Council executive manager regulatory services Andy Gaze said anyone fined for having an unregistered animal who sought to dispute the infringement, could contact the council.

He said if the person could show the animal was not theirs, then the council would waive the fine.

"If the animal is a stray or a feral animal, then council can provide the resident with information on how to deal with unwanted pests or traps," Mr Gaze said.

"Council can also alert other residents in a neighbourhood to let them know that animals are straying and being a nuisance."

Topics:  cat council fine fraser coast pet registration



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