A unleashed dog nearly attacked a hiker twice. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
A unleashed dog nearly attacked a hiker twice. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Call to control dogs when walking in parks

By Shanice Naidoo Time of article published Jan 23, 2021

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Cape Town - Nearly attacked twice while taking a stroll through Newlands Forest, a hiker has said this is the last straw for him.

Ridah Booley said: “Today I took a stroll Newlands forest side, (and there were) these people with their unleashed dog – the dog pursued me growling to attack – twice!!! I really don’t mind unleashed dogs ... but untrained – leash em!!! And I don’t blame the dogs it’s the owners. Forewarning: I will think nothing of giving you and your untrained pet a dirt nap – this is the last straw.” (sic)

A Facebook user said this was the second incident she had heard of in a month.

Many of the responses went in the direction that the owners were to blame for this.

Chairperson of Friends of Table Mountain, Andy Davies, said the Table Mountain National Park is a national park and it is a requirement for dogs to be kept under control in order to protect wildlife, other dogs and people, especially children.

“If there is any doubt about keeping a dog under control, it should be kept on a lead. We believe that more SANParks rangers in hot spots can also alleviate this problem,” said Davies.

Park rangers can issue a warning to a particular dog walker disobeying the Code of Conduct. A fine can be issued. Immediate confiscation or revocation of the Go Green Card is also possible in certain circumstances, and the dog walker may be requested to leave the Cape Peninsula National Park.

To walk your dog within TMNP you need a My Activity Permit. This will allow you to walk your dog in the areas designated for this purpose within the 12 months from date of purchase.

Regional communications manager for SANParks, Lauren Clayton, said dogs need to be under control in all areas and on a lead in the designated areas.

“Be sensitive to other park users. Dogs are not allowed in accommodation, educational and office nodes across Table Mountain National Park. Please carry your permit with you at all times when walking your dog, as non-compliance may result in a fine,” said Clayton.

She added that all park notices and park signage, and any legitimate instruction from a park official, must be complied with.

“Dogs taken into the park must be under effective control of the handler at all times. Should the handler or their dog cause an incident, the dog will be deemed to be out of control and the handler can be held liable. Dog handlers must always carry a leash. Dogs must be leashed upon instruction from any park official, as required by any official park notice and/or signage and while passing through designated parking areas, picnic areas and braai sites,” said Clayton.

A dog must also be leashed in the park if the handler is unable to control the dog or if it is aggressive or otherwise dangerous.

Under the compliance of the code of conduct, dog handlers must ensure that their dogs do not injure or kill any wildlife. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. No more than two dogs a person may be taken into the park (unless the handler has obtained a special permit from the park).

Park etiquette for walking dogs includes that when meeting a leashed dog, the handler of the unleashed dog should provide space for both dogs to pass without contact, and dog handlers should not allow their dogs to interfere with the pleasure of other users in the park. Dog handlers should give right of way to people unaccompanied by dogs.

Dogs should be called to heel if the handlers see approaching walkers, joggers or horse riders. Dog handlers should restrain their dogs from disturbing any wildlife. Bitches in heat should not be walked in the park. Dogs taken into the park should have a valid rabies vaccination.

Dog handlers should be sensitive to other park users. They should control their dogs if anyone in the immediate area seems ill at ease. Dogs should be leashed at the beginning and end of walks.

Under the City’s Animal By-law, designation of public places as free-running, on leash or off limits states that the council may designate public places with appropriate signage as one or more free-running on a leash or off-leash and the designation may vary according to time of day and season.

Weekend Argus

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