THE number of cats nabbed roaming in Wodonga exploded in the last financial year.
There were 256 felines impounded by Wodonga council rangers in 2016-17, compared to 159 in the previous 12 months.
The 61 per cent jump has been attributed to a crackdown on feral cats.
The council bought more cat traps in response to residents seeking a crackdown.
The amount of ferals is reflected in more cats being euthanised with only 41 per cent of impounds being released in 2016-17 compared to 62 per cent in 2015-16.
Only 32 cats were returned to their owner, by comparison 356 of 432 impounded dogs went home.
The data was contained in a 12-month review of animal pound services done by the council’s environment and community protection manager Mark Verbaken.
It marked a year since the council outsourced pound services to Albury’s Canine Country Kennels and closed its outdated animal shelter.
“The transition to Canine Country Kennels for the provision of pound services has proven to be sound,” Mr Verbaken concluded.
He based his opinion on savings tied to not building a new pound; increased rehoming of animals; and meeting government resource sharing benchmarks.
The pound has since been idle, but may be used in emergencies.
Councillor Kat Bennett pointed out at this week’s council meeting that a pound upgrade would probably have cost $1 million.
She said she was aware of complaints about having to drive to Albury to access the pound.
“When we share resources regionally, like this facility, someone is always going to have to travel,” Cr Bennett said.
“Something else I would like to explore … is the opening hours, the current facility I think is 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday and then one hour on Saturday and one hour on Sunday.”
Cr Bennett suggested opening from 10am to 6pm.
Cr Tim Quilty, who recently had to retrieve a pet cat from the pound, said the new set-up was saving ratepayers a “great deal” of money.
An audit of the service will be done before 2018.