CITY OF CAPE TOWN
The recent escalation in dog attacks, but also the latest attack on three pit-bulls in Athlone is cause for concern. The City and the Cape Animal Welfare Forum are appealing for calm – and responsible dog ownership.
‘The debate has been raging for months now about a possible ban on pit-bulls, in the wake of numerous attacks. It is the City’s position that no animal is inherently dangerous or violent. The real problem is how dogs are raised and trained by their owners, but also inter-breeding which affects the temperament of a dog. Furthermore, this issue is not pit-bull specific.
‘The incident in Athlone this week where members of the community killed three pit-bulls following an attack on a child has to be condemned in the strongest terms. Firstly, animal owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not pose a threat to anyone and are kept within their properties, but it is also illegal to harm or torture an animal. If anyone has concerns about a dangerous animal, they must report it to the SPCA or Law Enforcement so that urgent action can be taken. We cannot have a situation where people take the law into their own hands in this manner,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
The City takes this matter seriously, and its Law Enforcement Animal Control Unit is investigating the attack of the young girl.
The City has impounded many dogs over the last few years where those dogs have injured a person or another animal in a community or where the dogs posed a risk to the community.
The City will not hesitate to protect communities against dangerous animals or their owners, but we urge communities not to act outside the law and create legal problems for themselves.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is currently investigating the brutal killing of the three (3) dogs by the community, and will ensure that appropriate legal action is taken.
The Cape Animal Welfare Forum has identified numerous challenges around the breeding of dangerous dogs.
Key among these is the inter-breeding of dogs for the purposes of selling puppies or for the purposes of dog fighting.
The issue is compounded by dog owners who are not equipped to train and properly manage what’s known as power breeds.
‘Dogs need proper socialisation and training. Where a dog is kept in a confined space all day, and not given sufficient exercise or social interaction with other dogs and people, it increases the risk that the animal will be aggressive and potentially pose a danger to others. Animal ownership is a massive responsibility, and we encourage the public to do thorough research before acquiring a dog. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your nearest animal welfare organisation. Also, should your dog exhibit any signs of aggression, please do consider surrendering the animal to the animal welfare sector,’ said Cape Animal Welfare Forum Chairperson, Karen De Klerk.
The City and CAWF are calling for changes to national legislation to regulate power breeds. The City, CAWF and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Inspectorate have arranged an urgent meeting to discuss amendments to the Animal Keeping By-Law to incorporate stricter duty of care on pet owners and regulations regarding the keeping of dangerous animals.
In the interim, the public is reminded that in terms of the City’s Animal Keeping By-Law:
• any dog has to be on a leash in public, unless it is in a designated free-running area.
• it is the responsibility of dog owners to ensure that their property is adequately secured so as not to allow their dogs an opportunity to escape.
• all animals are required to be sterilised when they reach the age of six months. Breeders have to seek a special exemption from this provision of the By-Law
The full by-law is available here: https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Bylaws%20and%20policies/Animals%20By-law%202010.pdf
Should anyone have any concerns about an aggressive dog, or to report cases of animal cruelty, they are advised to call the City’s 24-hour Public Emergency Communication Centre on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1311 or Cell: 083 675 3780, Email: email@example.com (please always copy firstname.lastname@example.org)
Karen De Klerk, Chairperson, Cape Animal Welfare Forum, Cell: 081 352 0927, Email: email@example.com
Jaco Pieterse, Chief Inspector – Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Cell: 083 678 8460, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org