Obey the by-laws

Robert Herberson, Hout Bay

As a member of Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch and a regular participant in the holiday season beach patrols, I am constantly amazed at the arrogance of some dog owners.

Let me say first that many of the dog owners who bring their animals to the beach for exercise are conscientious in regard to collecting doggy poo and staying within the area designated for dog exercise.

It therefore seems extremely selfish of those few dog walkers, whom I have encountered when on patrol, who walk their dogs, with or without a lead, on the portion of the beach, between the Leopard Rocks and the path of the river estuary, that is maintained as a safe area for families for playing and bathing.

Their reasons given for disobeying the relevant by-laws and demarcations range from ignorance, which is understandable in the case of non-residents of Hout Bay and usually accompanied by apologies; to declaring that the demarcations do not logically apply in the early hours when the beach is practically empty; to an outright refusal to be governed by said by-laws, often excused by their rights as a taxpayer.

When you consider that a substantial portion of the beach is made available for their dogs to run freely, and to poo indiscriminately, and where other dog owners can be seen happily exercising their dogs, it is inexcusably selfish of these mavericks to claim an entitlement that exempts their behaviour from the norm observed by their peers. It is their good fortune that most of us do not conduct ourselves in this way, because if we did, Hout Bay would become a most unpleasant place to live.