As a Dog Owner you are Responsible to Keep Your Pets Safe and Adhere to City By-Laws

As a dog owner, the onus is on you to find out what is required by your municipality in terms of animal by-laws. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa gives certain powers to local government as set out in Part B of Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution. The council of a municipality may pass a by-law to regulate the services and affairs pertaining to its areas of jurisdiction. By-laws are set through a process of public participation and submission and take a number of months to finalise.

Dog Ownership

The City of Cape Town Animal By-Law 2010 was promulgated in August 2011. Chapter 2 of the By-Law refers to dogs.

Brief Summary
  • Council has the right to determine the number of dogs allowed on a premises. This is directly related to the size of the property. You need a permit to keep more than six dogs. You also need a permit to keep kennels.
  • All dogs must be registered with Council. Licensing fees may be payable.
  • Authorised officials may seize or impound a dog, which is, among others, is at large without its owner, appears ill, is undernourished or is a hazard to traffic on a public street. The owner may claim the impounded dog and may be subject to a fine.
  • Properties must be adequately fenced to keep the dog contained when not on lead.
  • Dog owners who walk their pets in public places must carry plastic bags and pick up excrement.
  • Officials have a right to sterilise a dog should it be in the interests of the welfare of the dog. They are also able to sterilise dogs who are being a nuisance, strays, or at request of the owner, for the owner’s own cost.
  • Dogs are only allowed off-lead in certain designed areas with appropriate signage.
  • Your dog must have a microchip and/or collar and some means of identification.

Prohibitions relating to the keeping of dogs (chapter 2, section 6)

Brief Summary
  • You may not urge your dog to attack, worry or frighten any person or animal or through negligence fail to prevent any dog from attacking, worrying or frightening any person or animal except where necessary for the defence of the person or his or her property or of any other person.
  • Your dog may not bark, yelp, howl or whine for more than six accumulated minutes in any hour or more than three accumulated minutes in any half hour.
  • Your dogs may not cause a nuisance to your neighbours by charging vehicles, animals, poultry, pigeons or persons outside of any premises where it is kept, or by misbehaving in any other matter.
  • Your dog is not allowed in a public area if suffering from a contagious disease (unless you can prove the dog is being treated by a veterinarian and no longer a health hazard).
  • If your dog is vicious or dangerous, he must be humanely muzzled and on lead in any public area or street.
  • Your dog may not trespass on public property or be a traffic hazard on any public road.
  • Your dog may not trespass on private property.
  • You may not starve or underfeed your dog. It must have access to fresh water and shelter.
  • Dogs must be on lead and in control in public areas, unless in a Council designated free running area.
  • You may not provoke, harass or tease any dog.

Further Reading

Read the full City of Cape Town – Animal by-laws, 2010 by clicking on the download link below:

Animals By-Law 2010

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