This is my objection to, and request for revaluation of, the proposed Pit Bull Terrier and ‘Keeping of Dogs’ by-laws in Knysna. It was passed at the Governance & Planning Section 80 meeting and now goes to the Mayoral Committee (MAYCO) for approval before, shortly thereafter, heading on to the Council Meeting where it is legislated.
The goal must be to have the Mayoral Committee send it back to the Section 80 meeting where they should encourage and consider public participation. An advantage is that Ray Barrell (DA) is the Chairperson of Governance & Planning as well as a member of the MAYCO.
I sent this request to him and two of his fellow committee members, Elrick van Aswegen (COPE) and Stephen de Vries (ANC). Through them, their political parties can also be informed.
With reference to the proposed ‘pit bull’ and ‘dog’ by-laws discussed at the Governance Meeting on October 7, i request that when it reaches the Mayoral meeting, you recommend that they be returned to the Section 80 so that you can respond to, and debate with, the public before enacting legislation.
I am not a dog expert and the purpose of this email is not for me to take a side i.e. are pit bulls vicious versus trustworthy pets. My belief in public participation, especially regards by-laws, motivates this email. This is emphasised by my blog at www.knysnakeep.org/pit-bull-terrier-laws-for-knysna which has, remarkably, gained 6000 views (proof attached) and 1000 Facebook shares since yesterday.
There are over 3 pages of comments there for you to digest and more if you look on other media. People are threatening not to visit or move to Knysna and local owners feel strongly that the situation lacks understanding and that they are being victimised. It’s an emotive issue.
Have experts been consulted? What proof is there of dog violence in Knysna and what was the situation e.g. dog fighting, domestic etc.
I’m not saying stipulate muzzles but even that would be less draconian than banning dog walking. It would be fairer to classify all potentially dangerous breeds together, encourage sterilisation and issue cards for owners which they could produce like a driver’s licence. An education campaign should accompany.
No matter what is decided, it should be done with compassion and the rights of all in mind.
PS: As asked by Councillor Aswegen at stated meeting, why are there about to be by-laws for so many animals yet not for cats which can be an obvious health hazard?
PS2: What is Local Enforcement going to do to enforce the by-laws regarding stray pigs, goats and cows? If one law isn’t appropriately addressed then how can more be added. By-laws must not be seen to be an easy way of making money off those who are believed to be able to afford it.
A petition set up by ‘Sarah Y.’ has already received 890 signatures. When it reaches it’s goal of 1000, it will be sent to the Knysna Municipality.