The arrival of livestock at an upmarket Westville home has got the goat of neighbours, who have raised concerns about the possible health implications of keeping farm animals in a built-up suburb.
This is the second report of sheep and goats being kept in upmarket suburbs in the past week.
The Mercury reported on Monday that 100 sheep and goats worth R250 000 were being housed at a luxury property in Morningside. They were set to be removed by Monday afternoon.
Residents in Westville –where more than 60 sheep and goats were being kept ahead of Eid celebrations – said that while they accepted the religious practices of others, they were unhappy about the strong smells emanating from the property and the occasional animal had escaped into their gardens.
“Well, it certainly looks like the grass is greener on the other side, doesn’t it? They’ve grazed on my side of the fence quite a bit,” said one neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The neighbour said the situation had escalated over the past month.
“The numbers vary on a daily basis. The most we have counted is 57 sheep and 10 goats. As you can imagine, the smell has been rather bad,” she said.
She emphasised that she understood the cultural and religious significance of Eid, but also said that the situation – especially for her business, which was run from her home – made the problem difficult to bear.
Another neighbour, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said he was prepared to accept the situation when the numbers were smaller.
“When the goats managed to get into our garden, the family was very apologetic and came and collected them straight away. We live in a rainbow nation, with many belief systems and ways of carrying out religious practices. We don’t want to stand in the way of people worshipping the way they want to,” he said.
Goats being kept on a property in Berea West. As many as 52 sheep and a number of goats were on the property at one time. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo
When The Mercury visited the area, the smell of animal faeces was slight, but only a handful of animals were visible.
The residents housing the animals declined to talk about the issue and simply shouted from inside the house that “the metro police has dealt with the matter”.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said two contravention notices for the keeping of livestock in a residential property without a permit had been issued in Durban over the past week, on August 23 and 24 respectively.
Mthethwa said there were two by-laws regulating the issue of animals – the Public Health By-law and the City of Durban Animal By-law.
Certain sections of the former by-law prohibit any person from using premises or any stable, kraal, shed, kennel, sty or any other enclosure to house cows, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep and pigs, without the authority of the city’s medical officer of health.
The latter prohibits the presence of animals on any street or in a public place, except while such animals were being transported or in a vehicle, without the prior written consent of the chief constable.
“If livestock is going to be kept on the premises for a period of time, then an animal-keeping permit is required from the city’s health unit. If the livestock will be slaughtered for religious purposes, a ritual slaughter permit is then required,” Mthethwa said.
She did not respond to questions about whether the Westville residents had obtained a permit.
Ward councillor Warren Burne said Westville residents had brought the matter to his attention, which led to him raising it with the city.
“The situation has improved since earlier this month,” Burne said.
Kloof and Highway SPCA said animals inspected at the Westville property had been found to be in good condition, and with food and water available to them.
“The inspector found no animal welfare concerns when she visited the property. They were running free and the area they were kept in was clean.
“We respond to all calls and complaints about farm animals in residential areas to ensure that there are no animal welfare concerns,” the SPCA said.