As lockdown restrictions slowly ease, more and more people are spending time outside in the fresh air, and taking dogs for a walk is one of the most common activities. However, sometimes owners do not follow Park rules. Now, Parkscape is urging dog-walkers to keep their dogs under control.

According to Parkscape, Tokai Forest has seen an influx of visitors since lockdown rules have been eased. As numbers have increased, so have complaints about dogs and their owners.

“While most forest users are courteous and respectful of one another, some newcomers may not know the forest etiquette or Park rules,” they said. “We have regrettably received a number of complaints in recent weeks, mostly regarding dogs and dog-walkers.”

Some complaints are regarding an increased amount of dog poo being left in the forest, while other complaints are about dogs harassing horses. Additionally, many have complained that dog-walkers do not keep their dogs under control. Parskscape adds that they are currently out of dog poo bags, so owners and walkers are encouraged to bring them along when visiting.

“Dog-walking in Tokai Forest is done in the knowledge that the Forest is a space shared by many different user groups from horse riders to cyclists, from families with small children to the elderly. It’s part of what makes the Tokai Forest so special,” said Parkscape. “Dog-walking in Tokai Forest is a privilege, not a right, and there is a very specific code of conduct, as agreed to by dog-walkers when it was originally negotiated that dogs be allowed in various parts of Table Mountain National Park.”

Parkscape is urging anyone who uses Tokai Forest to be extra wary of the rules and to follow them carefully.

“Please ensure that you understand and follow this code of conduct so that we can keep Tokai Forest clean, safe and harmonious – and most importantly, that SANParks continue to allow dogs in the Forest,” they said.

Here are the rules to be followed:

– You are required to have an activity permit to walk with your dog. You can obtain this from SANParks
– Dogs must be under control of their handler at all times. You will be deemed liable if your dog causes an incident
–  You must carry a leash
– Dogs must be leashed
– If instructed to do so by a ranger
– If your dog is reactive or aggressive in any way or insufficiently trained so that it is not under voice control
– On entering and exiting the Forest
– Dog walkers must remove dog faeces. Carry bags and use the bins provided or take the faeces home
– Aggressive dogs must be muzzled
–  Dogs must be called to heel on the approach of joggers, cyclists and horses
– Dog handlers must give way to those who do not have dogs and be sensitive to them – not everyone likes dogs and some people are afraid of them
– No more than two dogs may be taken into the Park, unless you have a special permit
– Dogs may not disturb any wildlife
– As regards horses – horses have the right of way. Dogs and dog walkers must give way to horses and their riders. Remember that a dog is a predator and a horse is a prey animal. Serious accidents can arise if your dog, no matter how friendly you think it is being, chases or even tries to play with a horse

Picture: Pexels

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