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Calls for mandatory dead cat scans backed at City Hall

Sian Berry sees motion unanimously supported as campaigners call for cats to be treated under the same rules as dogs

09 June, 2018 — By Richard Osley

CAMDEN’S Green councillor has led calls at City Hall for mandatory scanning of cats found dead on the roadside.

Sian Berry, who is a London Assembly member, wants traffic laws changed to bring cats into the same class as other animals. Drivers are currently required to stop and report an accident involving horses, cattle, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs – but not cats.

On Thursday, members unanimously supported Cllr Berry’s motion calling for London Mayor Sadiq Khan to use his powers to call for mandatory scans of dead cats.

She said when her own cat went missing she wrongly assumed its microchip would mean she would be able to find out if it had been found or what had happened to it.

“Luckily my cat came back soaking wet after three nights who knows where, but there are so many pet owners who never know.,” she said. “And that’s grim when so many of them [cat owners] have done the right thing and got a microchip.”

She added: “The problem is cats are not equal to dogs in the way the Government and local authorities treat them.”

Cllr Berry has since moved to a flat above a shop in Tufnell Park and adopted house cats whose health conditions mean they need to stay inside.

Conservative assembly member Steve O’Connell, who seconded the motion, said: “It’s a heart-breaking experience to not know what happened to a pet. This motion will help pet owners across London find out exactly what happened to their loved ones.”

Sian Berry

The motion calls for local authorities to be required to scan dead cats, which is not currently an obligation under the 1988 Road Traffic Act.

“We also call on the Mayor of London and the Chair of the London Assembly to write to councils in London to make sure their own street cleaning teams treat all cats with respect and ensure microchips are checked when cats are found dead in the street,” the text of the motion added.

The issue was first brought into focus by the Cats Matter campaign, which says over one in ten drivers has left a cat dying or dead on the roadside without reporting it.

“It’s basic human decency to stop the car if you have hit a cat,” the group said. “Even if you don’t love cats, the chances are good, there’s another person who loves the one you have just hit and will be devastated, not only that they were injured or killed, but that nothing was done to help.”

It adde: “It is also crucial to remember, that statistically, only 25% of road traffic accidents involving cats are fatal, so the chances are good the cat can survive with urgent care – instead of being left to suffer a needlessly slow and painful death because they were abandoned at the scene.”

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