Petition Make it law to stop ‘Hit and Run’ for Cats

Certain animals involved in RTAs require the driver to inform the police;this doesn’t include cats. Cats are free agents and are more likely to be victims to RTAs. We wish to see the law changed to reduce their suffering, by getting them to a vet quickly.
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More details

Our suggestion would be to make a RTA with a cat ‘reportable’ just like other animals; the driver must inform the (Honorary) Police only if other notifiable parties can’t be reached; the owner and/or the JSPCA. The offence would be failing to report the RTA. We don't expect drivers to be blamed, just that they stop to report.
We appreciate that it costs to change a law; perhaps the licensing of household cats would help generate the funds needed.
Sandra Jasmins, Jo Abraham, Chris Jackson & team.

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 11 October 2018

Cats are already well provided for in the Jersey Highway Code and the Animal Welfare Law.

Since the 2015 petition and the discussions in the States that followed, the Jersey Highway Code (which can be referred to in Court) has been updated to reduce the suffering of cats who are the victims of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs), by requiring drivers to contact a veterinary service. The code now stipulates that, if there is an incident or accident involving a cat, the JSPCA should be contacted as soon as possible and that they will dispatch a pet ambulance to the scene. The JSPCA provides a 24hr ambulance service and responds to every call, and the recommended procedure and JSPCA’s contact details have been promoted.

Other options for addressing the issues raised in the petition were considered. It was concluded that amending the Road Traffic Law might be a heavy-handed approach which would place an extra burden on the Police. It is already an offence, carrying heavy penalties (up to 12 month imprisonment and or a fine up to £10,000) under the Animal Welfare (Jersey) Law 2004, to do or omit to do any act so as to cause unnecessary suffering to a domestic animal (including cats).

What is really required are preventative measures to try and reduce the likelihood of cats being harmed by traffic. While not definitive, there are studies that show that a cat’s age and sex are amongst most important factors in determining whether they would be involved in a RTA, along with the time of day. Young cats between the ages of 7 months to 2 years are most likely to be in a RTA and cats 6 years or older were less likely. Overall, the likelihood of being in a RTA decreased by 16% for every year increase in the cat’s age. This may be due to changes in the behaviour of cats as they get older such as spending more time indoors, staying closer to home, and being more cautious. Unneutered male cats were more than twice as likely to be involved in a RTA as female cats, as they will roam further and be more likely to come into contact with a road. The majority of accidents occur at night, and often very close to the cat’s home.

While, if a cat has outdoor access, it is not possible to completely remove the risk of an RTA ‘Cat Care International’ provide advice on how cats can be kept safe https://icatcare.org/advice/keeping-cats-safe-campaign/road-traffic-accidents. We propose to work with the States Vet and the JSPCA with a view to more widely publicising this information”.

Minister for Infrastructure

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