The Brussels government approved a draft order on Thursday making the sterilisation of all domestic cats in the Brussels Region compulsory starting next year. The measure is aimed, in particular, at contributing to a drastic reduction of stray cats and preventing euthanasia in large numbers, said the Brussels Secretary of State for Animal Welfare, Bianca Debaets (CD&V).
As of January 1st, all cats born after this date must be sterilised before the age of 6 months. Cats introduced into Brussels must be sterilised within 30 days if they are more than 5 months old. And for all other domestic cats, an additional period is offered to the owners to allow them to perform sterilisation before 1 July 2018.
Compulsory sterilisation will apply to all cats in the Brussels Region, with the exception of cats kept by certified breeders or occasional breeders. It will be carried out in parallel with the identification and registration of felines, which is also compulsory, all of which are centralised in a database. Veterinarians involved in these operations will be required to provide a certificate to the owners. In the event of non-compliance with the new regulations, cat owners will be subject to administrative or criminal penalties as provided for in animal welfare legislation.
According to Bianca Debaets, the Brussels council of animal welfare has deemed it vital to concretise this last phase of the cats plan. This is important for the health of cats as well as for reducing the violence between cats or noise disturbances during periods when cats are on heat. It is also essential to prevent unmanageable litters with cats that ultimately become errant and usually end up being euthanised.
“Every year in the Brussels Region, more than 900 cats have to be eliminated in this way, because there is no place in the shelters for them”, explained the Secretary of State at the end of the meeting of the Brussels government.