Stray dogs chase people

2019-05-20 17:01
Shaz Ebrahim, a field and outreach volunteer for the Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue and Rehome.

Shaz Ebrahim, a field and outreach volunteer for the Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue and Rehome.

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Residents in the northern suburbs have called for the immediate removal of stray dogs which they say are terrorising the community there.

As dog attacks in areas like Copesville and Woodlands increase, community members have expressed concern that more vicious attacks could occur.

One woman has described a terrifying incident in which she and her 72-year-old mother were chased by a pack of 20 dogs.

Woodlands resident Leonie Anderson said she is worried that legislation does not protect residents and pets from the potential threat.

Earlier this month, Anderson and her 72-year-old mother were chased by about 20 cross-breed dogs.

“Luckily we were not injured but if that was a child, [it would be] a different story,” she said.

Anderson said this was her second encounter with the dogs.

She said she fears the dogs will one day attack her grandson who walks to school.

“It was a very scary and traumatic experience. Since then, I always ask one of my family members to accompany me everywhere I go.”

After she was chased by the dogs, Anderson said she had contacted the Pietermaritzburg Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), but she said she was told to lure the dogs into a confined space.

“The SPCA said this will help when they arrive as they have limited resources and can’t use all their time searching for missing dogs. How can I lure dangerous stray dogs? I stay in a block of flats and don’t have a yard,” she said.

Shaz Ebrahim, a field volunteer for the Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue and Rehome (Parr), said he would see about 10 dogs on the road if he drove around the northern areas for an hour.

He said the main problem is that dog owners are not securing their animals in their yards, and owners generally refused to sterilise dogs.

“People tend to have openings in their fences, or they leave their gates open and they don’t worry about the dog leaving the yard,” he said.

Ebrahim said Parr tries to educate the public about sterilising dogs, but usually faces resistance from dog owners.

“People think neutering a male dog will take away his manhood, and they believe things like a female needs to give birth to at least one litter before sterilisation.

“But if you have a female dog which isn’t sterilised, then you will get lots of dogs trying to come into your yard to breed with it.

“And the problem there is that if owned dogs aren’t sterilised, they can breed with strays and suddenly there will be a lot more dogs.”

In Woodlands, residents have also raised concerns over the growing number of stray dogs in the area.

In the latest incident, a pastor in the area escaped with minor injuries after he was attacked by two stray dogs.

The pastor, who asked to remain unnamed, told The Witness that it had become a worry in the area.

Other animals have also been attacked by strays.

Udesh Kumar, an inspector at the SPCA, said they could not capture stray dogs, and only had the authority to ensure animal welfare or deal with violent animals.

He confirmed that the northern suburbs saw a lot of stray dogs.

“If people see stray dogs, they have the power to confine the dog in their own property and call the SPCA to pick it up.”

He added, however: “Under law, if a stray animal is at your property for two days and you’ve been feeding it, you become the owner and it is under your responsibility.”

Kumar stressed that an owner had the responsibility to secure a dog in their property and that they would be liable if the dog escaped and damaged property or injured a person.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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