Feral cat plague causes stink
AN OVERWHELMING stench coming from a vacant block riddled with stray and feral cats has left businesses at the end of their tether.
Dozens of the four-legged animals have made the Bourbong St block their home, leaving the businesses to put up with the noise and reek, but Bundaberg Regional Council has been left almost powerless to clean up the privately owned land.
Fed-up Hungry Tum owner Mary-Anne Mann said she felt she had run out of places to turn.
"We have an increasingly unbelievable stink," she said.
Ms Mann said customers would often comment about the odour, but the fast food store was unable to do anything to combat it.
"I have exhausted my options with the council," she said.
Ms Mann said at night she would often see cats, followed by their kittens, coming from the block and had also heard the animals giving birth.
Station News owner Jim Pitura said the strength of the stench depended on the direction of the wind.
"Sometimes there are a lot of people coming in and complaining about the smell," he said.
Mr Pitura said the problem had been ongoing for a "few years".
Adding to the council's difficulty in eradicating the pests is the fact the block's owner is feeding the animals.
The owner, who declined be named, told the NewsMail he fed them to try to keep them off the streets.
He said it was not just the cats responsible for the smell.
"I come and clean up the block every morning," he said.
"I've seen used condoms, human faeces and underwear."
The owner said he had also seen a number of people urinating in the empty block.
He said he had previously worked with the council and vets to trap and remove some of the cats.
Council spokeswoman for health and environmental services Mary Wilkinson said the authority had received complaints about the block and were doing what they could to remove the animals.
"It's private property where the cats are, so we are only allowed to set traps with the owner's permission," she said.
Cr Wilkinson said it was more difficult to lure the animals into traps because they were being fed.
"We are trying, because it is not acceptable to have them in the middle of the city," she said.
Cr Wilkinson said new laws proposed by the State Government expected to be introduced on January 1 would mean the council would have the authority to go on to private property to resolve such issues.