Dog owners win fight against ban at Gardens

2013-09-03 00:00

A DOG owners’ petition to stop the planned ban of dog at the National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg seems to have paid off.

They can now put down their pens and pick up their leads and continue to enjoy walking their dogs in the gardens they love.

The Botanical Gardens had planned to ban dogs from the garden as of next year, which had dog owners barking mad. As previously reported by The Witness, a group calling themselves Dogs-n-Bots had collected over a thousand signatures asking the gardens to reconsider their decision.

After meeting with management of the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden, curator Allen Gcina Nene, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi), the Botanical Society of South Africa and the local ward councillor, the decision was rescinded under revised permit conditions.

Tami Hammerschlag of Dogs-n-Bots said they were elated. “I am very happy and grateful to Mr Nene and Sanbi for letting us continue to walk our dogs in the gardens. They were really lovely at the meeting and listened to us.”

In addition to the petition, Dogs-n-Bots also drew up a letter in which they proposed ideas to help dog walkers become more responsible, as this was the main reason for dog being banned.

Dogs were let off their leads, and owners did not clean up after their dogs. Ideas like having plastic dispensers and bins for dog waste around the gardens and punishments for owners who break the rules, were outlined in the letter.

Hammerschlag said that these ideas are not being implemented yet. The gardens will have to reassess the situation at a later stage to see if it is necessary to implement them.

Nene outlined the rules for dog owners who wish to bring their dogs to the gardens: “Dog owners are required to keep their dogs on leads at all times in the garden, and punitive measures will be taken against those observed to disobey the dog permit conditions. These conditions are set to be revised in consultation with the Dogs-n-Bots committee.”

Dog owners are also encouraged to purchase annual dog permits at a revised fee, which can be obtained at the gardens. They will be required to sign an indemnity form before entering the gardens, so in the event of a dog biting someone in the gardens, the owner will have to cover any medical costs.

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