Good news on stray cattle

IT WAS encouraging to hear this week that Ndlambe Municipality is tackling the issue of stray cattle at last.

The follows a court-imposed deadline for the municipality to develop a procedure enabling the public to report stray animals on roads, road reserves and public spaces, and to notify the public of this procedure within 60 days.

The court order was on March 7, so the municipality was just a couple days over deadline. The good thing is that it has been done.

It is a comprehensive procedure allowing the public to report any cattle they see to the fire department number, after which the control room will contact the chief traffic officer or chief fire officer before activating the stray animal team which will send for the truck to collect the animals and take them to the pound.

For the past few years, between the time the municipality stopped using the services of a local farmer to impound stray animals and opening and operating its own pound, it has been open season for negligent and irresponsible cattle owners to let their animals road on public verges and in the road.

There have been a number of accidents involving stray cattle over the years, some which resulted in injury and death.

There were simply no consequences, and motorists endured the hazard of encountering these animals at all hours of the day, but especially at night. There have been a number of accidents involving stray cattle over the years, some which resulted in injury and death.

When readers on Facebook responded to a recent post about stray cattle in Bathurst, an emotional tale was related by Gail Hayes-Bean, who said: “I have a very personal interest here since I lost my husband to cattle on the road 19 years ago at night. I was fortunate to survive with a fracture of C1 [vertebrae].  Our accident happened near Whitney between Bushman’s and Alex. … My husband was only 52!”

Other readers also related their accidents or close calls. Andrew Lamei said after his collision with a cow six years ago he was still trying to get compensation from the Road Accident Fund.

The owner of the beast could not be found. This has been a major problem with strays as their owners do not brand them as required to by the Animal Identification Act.

Hopefully now that the pound is back in operation and strays are actually impounded and fines issued to owners who come to collect their animals, they will be motivated to cease their lawlessness.

Although not branded, no animals will be released from the pound if they have not been tagged.

– Jon Houzet

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