Cape Town - Dogs have been banned from three of the city’s most popular beaches - and more dog-free beaches are in the pipeline.
According to new city regulations, Camps Bay, Clifton Fourth and Mnanadi beaches became dog-free from December 1. Heavy fines will be levied on dog-walkers using these beaches.
In the next week, the city will publish a full list of beaches where dogs are not allowed for the summer season.
Previously “free-running dog areas” were Mouille Point, Sunset Beach in Sea Point, the middle section of Hout Bay beach, and the eastern section of Sunrise Beach.
People could walk their dogs on most other beaches between 6pm and 9am.
The city has now prohibited dogs from being on popular beaches and this includes free-running dogs and dogs on leashes.
Mayco member for community services Tandeka Gqada said: “High density nodal beach points, where the highest number of beach-users gather, have been identified and allocated as dog-free zones.
“These dog-free zones amount to a very small percentage of the coastline (approximately 10 percent of the beaches). The rest of the coastline, in excess of 200km, is dog-friendly.”
People are allowed to walk their dogs:
Gqada said although the key coastal recreation points where most people gather had been designated dog-free zones, the city had allocated areas adjacent to these beaches for people to walk their dogs on the coastline.
She said the presence of dogs on the city’s beaches was at times a contentious issue which sparked much public debate.
“For many, dog-walking is an important part of their coastal experience as well as a form of social recreation.
“However, the city also recognises that dogs can, at times, negatively impact on the experience of other beach-users.
“In addition, there have, unfortunately, been reports of incidents of conflict between dogs and beach-users,” she said.
Last year two-year-old Meeka Riley Lackay from Bridgetown was attacked by an unleashed Rottweiler on Clifton’s First Beach.
She had surgery and the owner of the dog, James Lech, was fined R1 500 for contravening the regulations governing the walking of dogs on beaches.
The city’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said metro police would conduct regular patrols on the beaches to monitor the city’s by-laws.
Owners can be fined between R500 and R2 000 for offences that include permitting a dog to be in a public street or public place without being on a leash and under control, and permitting “any dog which is ferocious, vicious or dangerous to be in any public street or public place, unless humanely muzzled and held on a leash and under control”.
Gqada said the decision was not a new policy, but rather a system the city was applying during the peak season.
In the past the city had demarcated areas where dogs were allowed on beaches during certain times of the day, but Gqada said that system had been ineffective because compliance by dog-walkers was poor.
She said the sport, recreation and amenities department would review the new measures after summer.