Debate at barking level

2015-05-05 06:00

As the debate heats up over proposed new rules to guide which beaches around the south peninsula are animal-friendly, dog walkers are making sure their opinions are heard too.

Armed with posters and submissions, several Far South residents filled the subcouncil chamber in Fish Hoek last week to show their concern about some of the new demarcations.

The matter first arose in November last year when councillors were asked to review the proposed changes and make a decision.

However, they believed more consultation was needed and postponed the matter.

Public participation on the issue opened earlier this month and residents have wasted no time in having their say.

Speaking during the South Peninsula subcouncil meeting last week, Taryn Blyth, who represented the Friends of Dog Walkers, The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) and Kommetjie Canine College, said she believed the current proposals sought to do three things.

Firstly, she argued, the proposals sought to remove dog walkers from several areas which are popular.

Secondly, it sought to restrict dogs to leashes where they currently walk freely. Lastly, it sought to introduce time share on beaches.

According to Blyth’s submission, the proposals fail to recognise that outside peak holiday season, South Peninsula beaches are used by few people except dog walkers.

“No account is taken of the effect of leashing dogs. Leads do not prevent conflict between dogs and in many cases actually increase conflict. Dogs are generally more reactive towards strange people and dogs when on lead as leads prevent dogs from engaging in normal behaviour,” she explained.

Several residents agreed when Blyth highlighted the time-share proposals which limit dog walkers to dusk and dawn. She said they found this grossly unfair as dog walkers made up the majority of beach users and these times made them vulnerable to criminal elements.

The submission raises concerns about various beaches and makes alternative proposals for some demarcations.

At Long Beach in Kommetjie, Blyth writes, the beach is not a bathing beach and not safe for people to walk without dogs.

She explains the beach is mostly used by surfers and dog walkers who do not come into conflict.

“Closing the proposed section of the beach to dog walkers will remove access to the two car parks on Benning Drive, forcing people to use Wireless Road, which is more isolated and increases security risks for dog walkers.”

The submission also highlights concerns about Fish Hoek, Glencairn, Misty Cliffs and Shelley beaches.

Blyth urged the councillors to consider the role recreation plays in the emotional and physical health of residents.

Subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase thanked the residents for attending and explained all submissions would be considered before a final decision is made.

The comment period for the proposed new demarcations closes on Thursday.


For more information, and to submit comments, contact Helen Jordaan at 021 400 1691, or

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