An official reacting to gripes about people ignoring signs banning dogs from Hout Bay Beach landed in the dog box when he said dogs weren’t allowed on any city beaches.
But Zahir Badroodien, Mayco member for community services and health, later had to do some back-pedalling, admitting his earlier statement had been wrong.
However, he noted that the City’s Animal By-law specified where and under what conditions dogs could run free on beaches.
“Dogs are allowed at designated beaches. The coastline is a shared public asset and all members of the public are required to exercise due care, to avoid creating a negative impact on the environment and consideration for other users,” he said.
“The relevant by-law makes provision for free-running, on-the-leash and time-limitation beaches. It includes dog-owners being aware of the areas where dogs are prohibited and acting responsibly with their dogs in permitted environments.”
On Hout Bay Beach, dogs may run free in the middle section of the beach, but are not allowed along the Chapman’s Peak and Mariner’s Wharf side.
Horse riding is only allowed before sunrise, on the east side of Hout Bay River mouth.
In cases where dogs are banned from beaches, the City says this mostly has to do with the size and ecology of the beach, the health risk posed by dog poo and the possible nuisance the animals pose to the public.
Several Hout Bay residents who took to social media to weigh in on the issue said dog poo on the beach was one of their pet peeves.
Sarah Bullen Roderick said the beach was “totally gross” whenever she was there.
“Most often it is dog-poo central. It’s a small beach, and it could be so lekker, but those zillions of doggies need somewhere else to poop.”
Liz Speed said: “It’s awful that owners don’t always pick up and keep an eye on their dogs, but for me as a non-dog walker, I love the dog-walking ambience and the beach could easily be divided into two areas by the stream.”
But others said man-made pollution was much more of a threat to the beaches than dog poo.
“I mean, look at these fur balls leaving their beer cans, wine bottles, plastic pollution, cigarette butts lying everywhere,” said Sheona Balikaran.
Stuart Lindley said: “Don’t worry too much about the dog crap. What is being pumped into the ocean on a daily basis is millions of kilograms of human crap. This crap then swirls around the coastline infecting fish and sea life. So the least of my worries is a bit of dog crap.”