Moving house? Better check you can take the cat
By GREG MEYLAN - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 29 April 2007

A clause banning cats and dogs from a proposed new housing estate near Nelson is a welcome move, even if it can't be enforced, says Forest and Bird.

Banning traditional family pets, particularly cats, is being increasingly used across the country by developers seeking to build near sensitive wildlife habitats. In the past two years proposed developments in Southland, Northland, the Marlborough Sounds and Canterbury all included bans on cats.

Forest and Bird regional field officer in Nelson Debs Martin says the organisation has been campaigning nationally for bans to be included in numerous new developments.

Martin says cats hunt for up to a kilometre from their homes at night and are a serious threat to nesting birds, and while dogs are less of a problem, they still occasionally kill birds and disturb nest sites.

Almost half of New Zealanders share their house with a cat.

The Tasman District Council is due to make a decision on Tasman Ltd's proposal to build 121 houses, a cafe, motel and golf course on land that included four wetland areas in the Stringer Valley, near Mapua.

But the council's environment and planning manager Dennis Bush-King says that because the proposed ban would be through a covenant placed by the developer and not a condition of the council, it could only be enforced by other homeowners. He says the only way a cat or dog could be removed was if neighbours took the matter to court.

More here .