Animal welfare groups warn about new by-laws

A group of animal welfare organisations on Friday expressed concern about the Johannesburg Metro Council’s proposed by-laws on cats and dogs, saying this could cause suffering for animals.

Spokesperson for the group Vivienne Tothill said the proposed by-laws could result in pets being abandoned or unnecessarily killed.

“If caregivers cannot afford sterilisation, they may abandon pets. People will not help stray or injured animals because it could lead to unaffordable expenses, and euthanasia by welfare organisations would soar,” Tothill said.

It is for these reasons that the Concerned Animal Welfare Group has requested Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo to set up a sub-committee to review and approve the pet by-laws.

A letter requesting Masondo to re-think the by-laws and redraft them in consultation with animal welfare groups will be handed over at the Civic Centre in Braamfontein on Friday afternoon.

According to the proposed pet by-laws, only two dogs may be kept and all female dogs over the age of six months must be sterilised.

A document to prove that the dog had been sterilised should also be available to municipal officials. If people own more than two dogs at the time the by-laws come into effect, they will be allowed to keep the extra dogs, on condition they are not replaced when they die.

A maximum of three cats may be kept and female cats over the age of six months also have to be sterilised.

Breeders, owners of kennels or catteries and veterinary clinics may receive special permits to keep more than the allowed number of animals on their premises.

Stray animals and animals kept in contravention of the by-laws can be confiscated, impounded and ultimately destroyed. - Sapa

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