Rumours circulating that the City has banned dogs from all beaches in Cape Town as a result of safety concerns and health hazards are untrue.

The City of Cape Town’s media spokesperson confirmed with us that the City has not banned dogs from their beaches and dogs are in fact welcome at a number of locals beaches.

Locals in Hout Bay, however, have been complaining due to a number of residents and visitors who are openly bringing their dogs to beaches clearly marked with signage indicating that dogs are not allowed.

Some older locals have even reported being knocked down and still suffering from severe injuries a number of years after the incident occurred. Many locals are concerned as the trend of people walking around with their dogs off the leash on beaches that do not allow dogs is on the rise.

Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health says, “Dogs are allowed at designated beaches. The relevant by-law makes provision for free running, on-the-leash and time limitation (when dogs are allowed during certain times) on beaches.

Different beaches have different designations.

The factors that the City of Cape Town takes into consideration when allocating these dog zones include;

–        The size of the beach;

–        The environmentally sensitive nature of that specific beach;

–        The recreational use of the space;

–        The proximity to neighboring ‘free-running’ dog areas or where dogs are allowed on a lead.

The following reasons explain the City’s exclusion of dogs and domestic animals from certain sections of the coast:

–        The hygiene risk (because of the bacteria contained in dogs’ faeces);

–        The nuisance factor: where members of the public don’t want to be bothered by an animal invading their personal space;

–        The possible hazard or conflict that may arise between 2 or more dogs where a fight occurs;

–        Ecological sensitivity: dogs chase birds and other animals such as mongoose which are indigenous to our coastline and reside within the dunes.

The coastline is a shared public asset and all members of the public are required to exercise due care, to avoid creating a negative impact on the environment and consideration for other users. This includes dog-owners being aware of the areas where dogs are prohibited and acting responsibly with their dogs in permitted environments.

Badroodien said some signs needed to be replaced once the department was made aware of this. He said dogs and all domestic animals were prohibited at beaches because of hygiene, safety hazard, nuisance, and environmental risks.

There are a number of beaches around Cape Town that are specifically allocated for animal lovers and their pets – and even a few that you can take your horse to.

Those looking to take to the beach with their furry friends can take a look through the list of beaches and find suitable dog beaches here.

For more information on this topic read the City’s Animal By-Law here.

Picture: Pexels

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