Dog owner to take legal action

2014-01-25 00:00

eTHEKWINI Municipality has denied that two lifeguards tried to drown a pair of dogs on a city beach — and instead said the dogs’ owner had been fined.

But the dog’s owner late yesterday hit back, saying he was going to lay a criminal charge against one of the lifeguards.

Yesterday The Witness Durban edition reported that a dog had to be rescued from drowning early on Wednesday morning at Battery Beach in Durban after a lifeguard allegedly dragged the dog, one of two on the beach, which were fastened to a sign board — into the water.

The claims led to wave of outrage on social media, but city officials said in a statement yesterday they had concluded investigations into reports that the two animals, tied to a “No Swimming” sign, were dragged towards the sea.

The statement said the two lifeguards had noticed the dogs when setting up the bathing beacons on the beach.

The lifeguards had asked people on the beach whose dogs they were.

“They made several other attempts to ascertain the owner of the dogs, including making an announcement on the public announcement system, however no one came forward.”

The statement said the dogs were going to be taken to the SPCA when an onlooker accused the lifeguards of being abusive toward the animals.

The owner, who was bathing at the time, was then alerted and fined R300 for having dogs in a prohibited area and R250 for not having one on a leash.

“As per the municipal by-laws, pets are not permitted to be on the seashore and there are signs indicating that. The municipality is satisfied with the findings of the investigation and therefore will not be taking any action against the lifeguards concerned.”

But, East Coast Radio’s website carried a statement late yesterday from Gavin Gow, who said he was the dogs’ owner and an Umhlanga attorney.

He insisted initial reports were correct and that his 14-year-old dog had been saved by a French tourist.

“He was livid as were we all. I am laying a criminal charge against the life-saver today,” he said.

“This incident is shocking for the entire country from the international tourism aspect, right down to the terrible publicity for the eThekwini Municipality who employ the life-savers,” he said. “Our beaches are our main attraction for tourists and locals alike. I am therefore reporting this unbelievably cruel account to all relevant stakeholders.”

The city later released an amended statement saying “ … residents are encouraged to come forward should they have additional information that is of relevance to the case and would be prepared to give evidence. The municipality would be willing to revisit the case if necessary.”

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