Dog owners must respect City’s by-law

Wim Els, Table View

The City of Cape Town’s 2010 Animal By-law was drafted and eventually promulgated amid much publicity.

In August 2017, the City again cautioned pet owners to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the by-law, stating that owners of dogs that are not on leashes can face fines of up to R2 000.

The by-law also unequivocally requires dog owners to pick up their dogs’ droppings and to carry a sufficient number of bags to do so.

This by-law became effective on April 1 2012. Recent comments about the City applying its by-laws consistently, without fear or favour throughout its area of jurisdiction, makes one wonder whether the Animal By-law was, in fact, a joke.

It is common knowledge that many owners let their dogs run free in the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve, despite signs indicating that dogs have to be leashed. One can see this every afternoon after 4pm and virtually every morning and afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays. Tabletalk has reported on this more than once.

The same applies to many streets, parks and open spaces in Table View. The leash is draped around the owner’s neck, waist or wrist, and the dog runs and defecates wherever it wants to.

And I am talking about dogs of all sizes, not only those whose owners seem to think by-laws do not apply to small dogs.

In case anyone wants to use the stale old “Don’t you love animals?” response, let me point out that I have had a large rescue dog since December 2013. I take it for a walk every day. I clean up behind it.

Many other responsible dog owners do the same. And then there are those who appear to be above the by-law.

Is the City going to apply this by-law, too, consistently?

Yes, it may involve overtime. But the fine and impoundment income should more than cover that.

Or does it make more sense to scrap a by-law that is not being applied efficiently?