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					                         Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                         P O Box 1380
                         Roosevelt Park, 2129
                         Tel: (011) 673-0818
                         Fax: (011) 477-5099
                         www.dogwalkers.co.za




                                                                                        The Director
                                                                                      Legal Services
                                                                                       P O Box 1049
                                                                                Johannesburg, 2000


                                                                                        16 May 2005
Dear Sir/Madam


Draft by-laws relating to Cats and Dogs for public comment


The Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia would like to take this opportunity to comment
on the proposed by-laws relating to cats and dogs, in the interests of its members who represent
many amongst the dog walking community of Jan van Riebeck park (“Emmarentia Park”), in
Johannesburg.


Whilst respecting the Council for creating by-laws that aim to facilitate a healthy and controllable
population of dogs and cats in the city, there are some points that we wish to raise as dog
owners.


    2.2(a)      We believe that imposing a limit of two dogs per person is unduly restrictive.
                Those who have large properties may feel that they should be allowed to have
                more than two dogs for security purposes. We are also interested to know how
                the Council intends to enforce these by-laws, and whether it will be in an
                equitable fashion, i.e. will the law be enforced equally in the suburbs and in the
                townships and squatter areas? Furthermore, it appears to be a seemingly
                impossible task for the Council to try and keep tabs on when a dog is born or
                acquired in order to ensure that each household eventually has only two dogs.


    4(a)        This point states that a dog may not be kept that is a danger to anyone legally
                entering the property. How does the dog distinguish between legal and illegal
                entrants? Many people keep dogs as protection for themselves and their
                properties. Perhaps it would be more prudent to encourage dog owners to utilise
                          Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                          P O Box 1380
                          Roosevelt Park, 2129
                          Tel: (011) 673-0818
                          Fax: (011) 477-5099
                          www.dogwalkers.co.za


                 signs clearly indicating dogs on their premises and placing the risk of illegal entry
                 on those individuals who are trespassing on private property. Owners should only
                 be held responsible for their dogs’ behaviour when individuals have been
                 permitted on the property by the owners. Similarly, if the owner’s life is being
                 threatened by someone who has entered the property, would it not be deemed
                 that the dog is defending its owner?


    8 and 9      This point states that all female dogs over the age of 6 months must be sterilized.
                 As many dog owners are not in a financial position to sterilize their pets, are all
                 these dogs to be removed from their owners and impounded and then
                 destroyed? The new by-laws clearly discriminate against the poor, as well as
                 their pets.


    18 (1)       This point states that any impounded dog (or cat) may be destroyed or sold
                 within 96 hours if not claimed before then. This is very drastic action to take after
                 such a short period of time, especially if an animal manages to escape from its
                 premises whilst its owner is on holiday through no fault of the owner.


Apart from these issues above, we wish to ask how these new by-laws align with section 16.1 I
(ii) of the Public Open Spaces by-law which makes provision for a Council designated area where
dogs may run free. We notice from Section 5(2) of the proposed by-law, “Dogs in Public Spaces”,
that no provision is made for an area where dogs may run free. Does this mean that 16.1 I (ii) of
the Public Open Spaces by-law becomes null and void upon the promulgation of the proposed
by-laws relating to dogs and cats, or that Council has no intention of acceding to a free-range
area for dogs in the future?


As EDGE members, we are opposed to the inclusion of paragraph 5(1)(C) of the proposed by-law
because it is in conflict with 6.1 I(ii) of the Public Open Spaces by-law. We believe that this
provision may see the Council impounding dogs that are being walked off a leash as a penalty or
deterrent.


I enclose our previous correspondence to the City Council and Johannesburg City Parks asking
for clarity on the off-lead issue.
                      Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                      P O Box 1380
                      Roosevelt Park, 2129
                      Tel: (011) 673-0818
                      Fax: (011) 477-5099
                      www.dogwalkers.co.za




Our members eagerly await your response.


Yours faithfully


EDGE COMMITTEE MEMBERS




_______________________________              _______________________________
Steven Kuny                                  Anne Kiggell




_______________________________              _______________________________
Karin Bowler                                 S.A.M Martin
                          Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                          P O Box 1380
                          Roosevelt Park, 2129
                          Tel: (011) 673-0818
                          Fax: (011) 477-5099
                          www.dogwalkers.co.za


City Manager
City of Johannesburg                                                                     18 October 2004




Attention: Pascal Moloi


Dear Sir


Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia ("EDGE")


Jan van Riebeck Park commonly known to residents as "Emmarentia Park", has for decades served
as an amenity amongst other things, as a place for residents of Johannesburg to walk their dogs. It
has after many years become established and common for dog walkers to walk their dogs un-
tethered to leashes.


Our members are very concerned about the manner in which the Johannesburg City Council intends
to apply the provisions of the Public Open Spaces By-Laws that were published in the Provincial
Gazette Extraordinary under Notice 831 of 2004 on 21 May 2004.


We are particularly concerned about the fact that section 16(1)(i)(ii) of the above by-laws prohibits
people from walking their dogs in a public open space off-leashes unless the area has been
designated by the Council as an area where dogs may run free.


Our members hold the view that the long and established practice of walking dogs at Emmarentia
off-leashes does not unduly inconvenience other park users or pose a threat to the environment.


In fact, if you were to talk to people who walk at Emmarentia, we believe that you would find that dog
walkers make it a safer place for the public at large because the presence of a significant number of
persons at any time of the day deters muggers and other more dangerous criminals who not
infrequently prey on unsuspecting park users.


We believe that in general dog walkers are respectful of and sensitive to the environment and their
support for the Park is very beneficial and contributes to the improvement of the general amenity of
                          Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                          P O Box 1380
                          Roosevelt Park, 2129
                          Tel: (011) 673-0818
                          Fax: (011) 477-5099
                          www.dogwalkers.co.za


the Park in a number of important ways.


With this in mind, a public meeting was held on 7 July 2004 to discuss the above issues, and EDGE
was formed. It is a non-political and non-racial voluntary association and its constitution incorporates
the following objectives, namely to:


         promote and protect the interests of dog owners who walk their dogs in Emmarentia Park.


         promote the conservation of Emmarentia.


         promote socially responsible behaviour amongst the dog-walking community in the
          interests of people who use Emmarentia.


         assist with the maintenance of an area in the Park where dogs may range free and ensure
          the implementation of policy and measures to deal with the upkeep and maintenance of the
          said free ranging area.


Our members have heard rumours circulating to the effect that the Council is considering prohibiting
people from walking their dogs at Emmarentia off-leashes or severely restricting the area in which
dogs may run free.


We are firmly of the view that to prevent persons from walking their dogs off- leashes at Emmarentia
would be unreasonable and unjustified not only because it would be contrary to established practice
and long standing custom, but also because it would unduly interfere with and restricts the rights of
dog-owners who currently use and enjoy Emmarentia. Furthermore, we believe that such action
would not be supported by the majority of persons who use Emmarentia and in particular, by dog-
owners.


We are aware that dog owners have been criticised because of the mess created by dog faeces, and
we believe that this issue that should be discussed with the Council. Furthermore the issue of safety
of persons who walk at Emmarentia is a matter that warrants attention. We have constructive
suggestions and proposals to make in this regard.
                         Environment and Dog Group of Emmarentia
(EDGE)
                         P O Box 1380
                         Roosevelt Park, 2129
                         Tel: (011) 673-0818
                         Fax: (011) 477-5099
                         www.dogwalkers.co.za


The present uncertainty regarding the status of Emmarentia in relation to dog-walking is
unsatisfactory and EDGE would like clarity regarding (a) the Council's policy in regard to the walking
of dogs at Emmarentia and (b) the current status quo in regard to areas where dogs are prohibited
and the areas where dogs may run free.


We believe that it is in the interests of all persons concerned that discussion and consultation take
place between the Council and EDGE with regard to the above issues. In particular we would like to
discuss the possibility of entering into an agreement in terms of section 24 of the Public Open
Spaces by-law in connection with the co-operative development, management and regulation of
human activities in Emmarentia.


Finally, we would like to emphasise that our members believe that co-operation with the Council is of
the utmost importance, and they are committed to resolving issues in relation to the walking of dogs
at Emmarentia in a peacefully and orderly way, and in a manner that will be beneficial to all the
parties concerned.


We would like to meet with the relevant person in the Council as soon as possible to discuss our
concerns and formulate a way forward.


We look forward to your response.


Yours Faithfully




___________________________________
Steven Kuny
Chairperson, EDGE

				
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