Saturday, September 27, 2008

By-laws to restrain dogs - Cape Town - South Africa

The proposed by-laws through the eyes of my dog. 25-09-2008

There are so many complaints about dogs, barking, dogs running loose and dogs attacks, it is difficult to distinguish between the genuine complaints and those coming from “bekrampte” people, who are so miserable that they can not stand seeing anything else being happy.

During the thirty years of taking my dogs for two walks a day, they have only been involved in fights twice. Only once was it necessary for medical treatment after a dogfight. Not one of my dogs ever attacked other dogs. Interestingly, the two who were attacked were both spayed females being attacked by un-sterilized male dogs.

Tobie, a local dog does not like my female dog one little bit. If he gets half a chance he will do some damage. I do not know what male dogs have against spayed females. Perhaps they give off a strange odor.

Animals are born to be free. Dogs particularly have an abundance of energy, while young, with a body structure and nature to run and roam around.

Animal lovers cannot always afford large back yards, for their dogs, which does not mean that they should be denied the loving companionship of a dog for a pet. Other people choose to have dogs for protection.

Dogs, like people and wild animals, have needs. One of those needs is to be able to just run free and have fun. Dogs need to exercise and most of them love swimming in the sea. They have in their DNA that memory of being children of the bush. They yearn to explore, sniff around and to experience new things.

Keeping a dog in a small enclosed back yard and then on a leash for a slow walk for the rest of his life is cruel.

Such a by-law would be cruel.

When the Cape City council approves bylaws regarding dog ownership, they should also set aside areas of beach, as well as open space in each region, where dogs can roam

We must also remember that stray animals are not necessary a sign of negligence.

Animals often stray after a burglary or because workers left a gate open without the owner's knowledge.

Lets hope that those who make the bylaws regarding dog ownership, are able to see life through the eyes of a dog.

While we are on the subject of council bylaws, I hope that there will be a bylaw to prevent people, bordering on nature reserves, from owning cats. It is near impossible to keep cats out of reserves.

Imagine the damage cats can do among chicks from nests that are on the ground and who are unable to fly, like the plovers on the beach, or the various bird and duck species that breed at Rietvlei reserve. One year Mother Goose, at Rietvlei, lost all twelve of her chicks. Every day there would be one or two missing.

Another consideration could be that ID chips are implanted in animals at their first vaccination.

Such a chip could also record the breeder, or adopted parent’s ID number and vehicle registration number.

This could help to re-unite stray animals, with their owners, and to trace their medical history. The veterinary surgeon that does the implanting of the chip should be responsible for keeping the database of the animal's history (both social and medical). The vet's practice number can also be recorded on the chip.

These records can prevent illegal trading with animals and identify people who abuse animals.

Unfortunately, any such bylaws will only apply to the middle and the upper class. People living in low-cost and informal settlements will still do as they please. Animals come low down on their priority list of fighting crime.

When one considers the free-for-all when it comes to breaking rules and laws by those governing the nation, animal by-laws seem petty and unnecessary. When one considers the country's inability to cope with serious crime, it will only place further strain on an already stressed legal system.

One can end up with a situation where someone is jailed, for not being able to pay the fines for a barking dog, while a murderer roams the streets.

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