12 February 2024
Cattle can often be seen roaming right next to main roads in and around Langeberg, grazing scarily close to incoming and outgoing traffic. This has sparked a debate which now has everyone guessing: who is responsible for stray animals?
Western Cape Department of Local Government decided to create a By-Law on this subject. A complication with the implementation of the By-Law and the ruling of the Constitutional Court is the fact that most stray animals are not branded. This makes it difficult to identify the owner/s and to give proper notices as envisaged in the By-Law.
The Agricultural Act requires that animals must be branded. The enforcement of this legislation is vital in the management of stray animals. It is with these provisions in mind that the municipality maintains that the management of stray animals is a complicated matter and requires full cooperation from the other spheres of government.
According to Langeberg Pounds By-Law, Chapter 3: the following applies when considering the seizure of animals for impoundment:
• A lost, abandoned, stray or trespassing animal, or an animal that is not kept under proper control by its owner, and that is found in a public place or on private land, may be seized and delivered to a pound for impoundment.
• In the case of an animal that is found in a public place, the following persons may seize the animal: member of SAPS; member of the SANDF; law enforcement officer or the provincial department responsible for road traffic matters; an authorised official of the municipality; a pound keeper; an employee of any Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals located in the Province; or any other person determined by the municipality from time to time.
In the case of an animal that is found on private land, the animal may be seized by the owner or occupier of that land. Alternatively, one of the authorised officials may seize the animal too.
The person who seizes the animal must deliver it to the nearest accessible pound, taking the shortest practical route and within the shortest practical time. The owner of the animal will be held liable for costs incurred by ratepayers.
However, the owner will be given seven days to dispute those fees and reasonable expenses. A pound keeper must, within seven days of the impoundment of an animal, notify the owner.
A statement should also be issued by the pound keeper to the owner stating that he or she has seven days, calculated from a date stipulated in the notice, to dispute those fees and reasonable expenses. If the owner does not dispute the fees and reasonable expenses, but fails to pay by the given date, the pound keeper will then apply to a magistrate’s court for an order authorising him or her (pound keeper) to sell the animal.
Currently, Langeberg Municipality does not have a pound and makes use of the pound in Swellendam. However, the municipality has applied for financing from the Western Cape Government for our own pound.
Report stray animals to our 24/7 call centre:
• Call: 0860 88 1111 / 023 615 2219
• WhatsApp: 065 211 7822