MOSSEL BAY NEWS - A Mossel Bay resident, Gideon Alberts, has complained about dogs not being on leashes and owners not picking up their dogs' mess.
Alberts complains that there is only one notice board along the whole Hartenbos beach promenade - and it is near the river mouth - noting the rules about dogs - that dogs must be on a leash and the owners must pick up their dogs' poo.
Alberts stresses: "These are municipal ordinances and bylaws."
He complains that walkers are faced with unsightly dog poo.
"The municipality should police this. Where are people's spades and plastic bags to dispose of dog faeces? People only think of themselves and their dog, not others."
Alberts said the problem with dogs not being on leashes and dog poo was not confined to the beach at Hartenbos, it was also in the suburbs. He contacted the ward councillor for Hartenbos Heuwels, Alderman Barney Groenewald, and complained to him. Alderman Groenewald is also the speaker of the Garden Route District Municipality.
When approached by the Mossel Bay Advertiser for comment, Groenewald said: "It is unacceptable for any doggie parent to walk their dog without a leash. It could be attacked by other dogs or attack other dogs or people. This is totally irresponsible. Some people do not respect or appreciate their pets. They are abusing the opportunity to walk their dogs."
Groenewald, who owns dogs, recommends a harness rather than a leash. "A harness is more comfortable for the dog and you have more control."
He emphasised that all wild life and birds should be protected from dogs. An unleashed dog could attack other animals.
He continued: "A dog owner must carry a poo bag."
Groenewald said: "Making sure bylaws are adhered to is also the community's responsibility. Don't rely only on law enforcement all the time. We should say to others: 'Why is your dog not on a leash? Why are you not wearing a mask?"
Mossel Bay Municipality spokesperson Nickey le Roux said: "The municipality’s bylaw stipulates that residents should always keep dogs on leashes when not in their yard, and this extends to all public areas and also that owners clean up after their pets.
"It is impossible to police all public open spaces continuously, and the municipality relies on the cooperation of responsible pet owners and residents in abiding strictly by all the bylaws.
"The municipality’s law enforcement officers do spot checks at the popular beaches every so often, and hefty fines follow non-compliance. To police pet owners more effectively would require many more personnel, with the concomitant salary expense for all ratepayers.
"The municipality again urges pet walkers and residents in general to abide by the bylaws and all legislation strictly, to ensure a pleasant and healthy environment for everyone."
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