Bungle leads to council refunding $365k in cat rego fees
AN ADMINISTRATIVE bungle means the Fraser Coast council will refund about $365,000 in cat registration fees and infringement fines to Fraser Coast feline owners, dating from October 2014.
Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive Ken Diehm said the council had also decided residents will no longer need to register their cats.
"We identified an administrative oversight that resulted from a change in legislation and as a result of this oversight we technically have no legislative power to require our residents to pay for cat registrations," Mr Diehm said.
In September 2013, the State Government repealed state-wide mandatory cat registration, with councils given 28 days to determine a course of action.
The Fraser Coast council voted to continue with cat registration and the administration was directed to create new local laws.
"Due to an administrative oversight this did not happen," Mr Diehm said.
The refund was the correct course of action, Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft added.
"Once council became aware of the oversight we moved to correct the oversight," Cr Loft said.
"Procedures have been put in place to ensure it does not happen again."
The council is aiming to refund the money owed to cat owners by the end of October.
"Pet owners who have just renewed their registration will be dealt with first," councillor David Lewis said.
"Council will then go back through its records to find people who are entitled to a refund.
"If people have not received a refund cheque in the mail from council by the end of October, they will be able to fill in an online application for the refund."
He said the money collected from the registration fees went towards the council's animal management program, which includes returning pets to their owners and the responsible ownership program.
Maryborough's Rod Gardner, who owns two registered cats, said he didn't mind paying registration, but did feel it was excessive given his pets were already microchipped and desexed.
He said it would be one less bill to pay.
Fellow Heritage City resident Paul Hennessy agreed, saying his family had a new kitten named Peaches and had been expecting to pay a lifetime of registration fees, but they were pleased that was no longer necessary.
He said the kitten would be desexed and microchipped, adding that he felt people should still be held responsible for caring for their pets.