Chained ‘pitbulls’ raise concerns

Neighbours are up in arms about two pitbull dogs allegedly kept chained 24/7 on a property in Halstead Road and the nuisance they cause by barking all hours of the day and night.

Linda Clur and Marie Dickie came to see Talk of the Town about the problem after they said their and other neighbours’ attempts to converse with the dogs’ owner had met with hostile response and their complaints to the SPCA and Ndlambe Municipality had achieved nothing.

“It’s been like this for the past two years,” said Dickie, who provided TotT with correspondence to the municipality and SPCA.

UNECCESSARILY CHAINED? The only photo resident Marie Dickie was able to get of one of the dogs allegedly kept chained 24/7 on a property in Halstead Road, whose constant barking has been a bane to surrounding neighbours

Among the correspondence was a letter dated December 14 2020 hand delivered to Ndlambe community protection services deputy director Fanie Fouche and for the attention of environmental law officer Willem Nel and director Nombulelo Booysen-Willy. It was signed by more than 20 residents, including neighbours in Halstead Road, Park Road, Halstead Lane, High Street, Albany Road and Beach Crescent.

“This matter has been referred to you twice before and it has now reached breaking point,” the letter stated.

“These two dogs as you know are chained up 24/7 in the heat, rain and cold. They bark continuously and this continued barking has now become unbearable. The owner has been spoken to several times and maintains that he knows his animals are causing a problem, but nothing is done about the disturbance.”

More than a year before that, Dickie raised the plight of the dogs in a letter to the municipality, the SPCA inspector, the SPCA chairperson and committee members.

She attached six complaint forms addressed to the municipality and personally delivered by her.

In the letter she explained that the dogs had frequently jumped over the fence and run around in the neighbourhood, being rescued by concerned neighbours who feared they might be run over in the busy Albany Road.

“I personally have returned them to their property on numerous occasions,” Dickie said.

On one occasion after being found in the street the dogs were taken to the SPCA and Dickie said the owner had to pay a fine for their release and also on condition the male was neutered and the female spayed.

“That cost him money so he has bad feelings,” Dickie said. “One time I approached him about his dogs he told me to f*** off.”

At one time the dogs were tied up on chains in the back yard. After neighbours facing the back yard complained about the dogs being on chains all day, they were moved out of sight on the side of the house.

“These animals are on very short runner chains day in and day out. They whine and bark continuously out of sheer frustration. They are young beautiful dogs that need more space to release their energy,” Dickie wrote.

She said in response, an SPCA committee member had informed her that nothing more could be done.

Frustrated with the lack of response from the municipality and SPCA, Dickie wrote to the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) in Nelson Mandela Bay to ask their advice.

She said an AACL representative had told her it was a contravention of the Animals Protection Act, as amended in 1991, to chain up a dog for an indefinite period.

On the issue of the constant barking, Clur said the municipality had an obligation to address it in terms of the bylaws.

“About four years ago, I submitted an application to the municipality for a third dog. Willem [Nel] told me he and Richard, a co-worker, sat outside my place to see if there was any barking nuisance before granting my permit,” Clur said.

In response to TotT’s queries, SPCA inspector Anel Slabbert said the dogs were boerbuls, not pitbulls, but that the owner had complied with a warning issued to him to improve the conditions and manner in which the dogs were chained.

“Both dogs are now on runners – previously on static chains – and have access to water and shelter. We monitor the dogs from time to time to check up on their welfare. Both dogs have been seen running around freely on the property, at different times, so we know these two dogs are not permanently confined,” Slabbert said.

“The SPCA is opposed to the unnecessary confinement of all animals but do understand that this is necessary at times. The SPCA must take into consideration when reading Section 2(1)(b) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962, or any other section in this Act, what the owner’s intention is when confining the dogs on runners. The owner felt it necessary to confine the dogs in order to keep the dogs safe and out of the street where they may pose a hazard to people or vehicles, or more importantly, a danger to themselves,” she said.

Municipal spokesperson Cecil Mbolekwa’s response was: “Our environmental law and health inspector, with SPCA, is in discussion with the owner of the dogs to attempt to resolve the nuisance issues as soon possible.”

TotT was unable contact the owner whose surname is unknown to his neighbours.

 

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