D-Day is approaching for Cape Town pet owners who have more than the legal number of cats or dogs living on their property – they have until the end of the week to report to the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Office.

After the July 31 deadline, owners of “excess” pets can be fined for failure to comply as city authorities move to enforce the Animal By-law of 2010.

The by-law allows for a maximum number of cats and dogs per property, with the number prescribed according to the type and size of the property.

These limits are designed to eradicate environments that are abusive and unhealthy for the animals.

While the city has promised that applications for keeping excess pets will not be “unreasonably denied”, there is no assurance that an application will automatically be successful.

Owners with prior convictions for cruelty against animals and environments deemed “unhealthy” for animals are common grounds on which applications may be rejected.

Aside from applying for additional animals, all pet owners have until the end of August to “register” their pets with the city.

“This process will help the city develop accurate information on the domestic animal population in Cape Town,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.

“It is completely free,” he said.

Knowing the type, breed and other information would aid in animal welfare planning and budgeting, he added. Owners of unregistered pets may be issued a compliance notice, followed by a fine of R300.

“Once owners have registered their pets, they are encouraged to update their pets’ details in respect of new pets/pet deaths as and when they occur.”

Smith also threatened that unregistered animals could be confiscated and impounded by the city, but stressed that the registration drive would be beneficial to the welfare of domestic animals in the city.

“Fifty percent of our efforts will go to compiling accurate figures. The other 50 percent will be geared towards relocating animals in need,” said Smith.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has offered its support to the city in terms of educating people about the new law.

“Dogs and cats are, for most pet owners, much-loved and adored members of their family, so it’s not surprising that they are anxious to understand the new animal by-law and how to comply,” said local SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins.

“(For the past few months) we have had a steady flow of people come in to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA almost daily basis to register their pets,” said Lamees Martin, SPCA spokeswoman.

* All relevant forms can be downloaded from the Campaigns and Programmes section on the city’s website (www.capetown.gov.za).

Printed forms can be obtained from law enforcement offices or public libraries.

Maximum number of pets allowed per type of property:

* Type of property: Dwelling unit

Size of property: Eg flat and duplex

Number of pets: Two dogs and four cats

* Type of property: Dwelling house

Size of property: Less than 600 square metre erf

Number of pets: Three dogs and four cats

* Type of property: Large dwelling house

Size of property: More than 600 sq m erf

Number of pets: Four dogs and four cats

* Type of property: Agricultural property

Size of property: Land zoned for agricultural use eg farm

Number of pets: Six dogs and six cats

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Cape Argus