Noisy Cape Town dogs bark up the wrong tree

By Buziwe Nocuze

Cape Town residents, especially those staying in the townships, fear that their dogs will leave them broke if they bark for too long. 

Those who didn’t know about the city’s animal by-laws were shocked to hear that any dog that barks continuously for three minutes in a 30-minute period is considered a problem and the owner may get a R500 fine.

Nandipha Mcekethi, a resident of Nyanga township, doesn’t understand why the city is fining dog owners.

“I am stressed about this because I have more than four dogs. They don’t only bark at people passing next to my house, but sometimes they also bark at cars, which means I will be in debt soon. I hope no one reported me to the City of Cape Town,” Nandipha said.

“Dogs protect us from criminals. We can’t train them when to bark because they might keep quiet when criminals come into the yard.”

Another dog owner speaking anonymously wants the city to allow dogs to be dogs.

“A dog’s job is to bark. Most of us don’t train dogs to know when to bark. We stay in the township. We don’t have money to buy food for our families. Where are we supposed to have money to pay for barking dogs?” 

Thumeka Kente, a resident of Gugulethu, said dogs who chase cars are also a nuisance.

“I am happy with people getting fined for their barking dogs. Not only do dogs annoy by barking at everything that moves, but there are those that bark while chasing cars,” said Thumeka.

JP Smith, Cape Town’s MMC for Safety and Security, said the city’s Public Emergency Communications Centre receives numerous calls for noise complaints every day.

Although most of these are for late-night noise from parties, many complaints are also about barking dogs.

“The animal by-laws state that any dog that barks for three uninterrupted minutes over 30 minutes is seen as a nuisance and the owner may be liable to an R500 fine and then told to take further steps to fix the situation,” said Smith. “Failing to do so would result in an additional R1,000 fine and further court action.”

Pictured above: Barking dogs. 

Image source: X


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