Over the past six months an e-petition on the subject has been signed by more than 5,000 people, meaning it passes the threshold to be considered for a debate.
Deputy Jeremy Maçon has now lodged a proposition with the States based on the petition, which means that it will be discussed.
In it, the St Saviour Deputy says: ‘Now that it has reached the signature threshold, it is a matter that Members should consider.’
In his proposition he adds: ‘The direct financial implications of this proposition relate to the consultation process proposed, which can be absorbed from departmental budgets. However, if it is decided to amend legislation, then it is likely that there will be a number of resource implications for the police and parishes, as well as a potential cost to the public if a cat-licensing system is introduced.’
If the proposition is approved, the Infrastructure and Environment Ministers would be asked to consult on how cats could be given additional protection under either the Road Traffic (Jersey) Law 1956, Highway Code or Animal Welfare (Jersey) Law 2004, so that drivers are required to report an incident in which a cat is injured to the police.
Under current legislation it is an offence to hit a dog and drive away without reporting the accident, but it is not illegal to drive away if the animal involved is a cat.
The matter was raised in the States in 2015 after thousands of people signed a petition calling for the law to be changed. That petition was launched by Islander Sandra Jasmins following a case in which a motorist struck a cat and then killed the injured animal to end its suffering.
At the time, former Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel agreed to meet campaigners to discuss what action should be taken and, following the meeting, contacted the States’ Law Officers’ team to ask them to look at how legislation could be updated. However, no changes were made.
Then in October, following the launch of the States e-petition website, via which petitions can trigger debates if they receive enough support, the matter was raised publicly again.