Pet owners lobby for cats’ rights

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Animal lovers in East Renfrewshire are on a mission to change a road traffic law which they say is unfair to cat owners.

Cats Protection Giffnock and District branch has launched a petition calling for the Scottish Government to amend the Road Traffic Act (1998), which states that a motorist who knocks down a dog has the legal obligation to report it — but not a cat.

The petition follows an incident with Barrhead councillor Kenny Hay’s 10-month-old kitten Tigger, who was left with a broken leg and pelvis after being knocked down last month.

Karen Minnery, Cats Protection co-ordinator, told The Extra: “We launched the campaign on Saturday at Rouken Glen Park, and have given our petition to Rouken Glen Vets to gather more signatures.

“The law needs to be changed. It’s not fair that you have to report a dog but not a cat — and there are an incredible amount of cat lovers in East Renfrewshire who I hope will get behind us. We’re hoping to get other Cats Protection branches on board too, making it a Scotland-wide campaign.”

The branch has also requested a meeting with East Renfrewshire Council. Karen explained: “We’re hoping to reach a compromise over binmen, who pick dead animals up off the road.

“We could give them microchip scanners to identify the cat, or even if they contacted us and gave us a chance to scan it — at least that would provide closure for the owner.”

Councillor Hay has passed the petition on to businesses in Barrhead, as well as Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh.

He commented: “It’s an unfair situation. If owners have their cat microchipped and someone hits the cat, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to report it. It’s an opportunity to save the cat, or let people know what has happened at least.

“A pet is a really important aspect of some people’s lives — if the animal goes missing or is killed, it has an impact.”

But it’s a happy ending for Tigger at least, who is back to normal and “bouncing about” after surgery.

The petition launches online this week — see facebook.com/extrasouthside for updates.