The law is always evolving, with new legislation and amendments to current legislation published continuously. All of this can make it difficult to always be a law-abiding citizen. Here are the most important laws relating to pets:
The Animals Protection Act, No. 71 of 1962.
This Act sets out the conduct that will be regarded as cruelty to animals, including setting animals free in a manner that will expose them to danger; abandonment of an animal by an owner; keeping animals in dirty or parasitic conditions; and failing to seek veterinary care for an animal when it is required.
The Animal Matters Amendment Act, No. 42 of 1993.
The Act stipulates that any person whose negligence causes an animal to injure another person is guilty of an offense. The penalty can be either a fine or imprisonment of up to two years.
The Animal Diseases Act (No. 35 of 1984)
This Act deals with animal disease control. It is required by law that all dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at the age of three months, followed by another vaccination within twelve months. Thereafter they must be vaccinated every three years.
The Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, No. 8 of 2011.
Anyone who wants to keep a pet in a sectional title complex must first get written consent from the trustees of the Body Corporate. The trustees may even withdraw the consent if a person fails to adhere to the required conditions.
By-laws are legislation made by the local authorities. These laws deal with issues such as the management of public areas, noise control, and environmental management. By-laws often contain restrictions regarding the number of pets that may be kept.
Common law is based on customs and court precedents. One common law principle that is relevant to pet owners is the doctrine of Actio de pauperie, which states that pet owners are strictly liable for damages caused by their pets.
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