The Cape Animal Welfare Forum will work closely with the City of Cape Town on the revision of animal-related legislation and general welfare matters and has chosen a new patron in the form of Alderman JP Smith.
Animal matters took centre stage at the annual general meeting of the Cape Animal Welfare Forum (CAWF) on Friday 24 November 2017.
A number of key discussions were held at the event attended by the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith, and Chairperson of the City’s Safety and Social Services Portfolio Committee, Councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe.
The City of Cape Town has an existing relationship with the forum through its grant-in-aid funding of mass sterilisation campaigns. City Health initiated the first sterilisation project in 2013, providing grant-in-aid funding to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and its animal welfare partners to sterilise dogs and cats in identified areas. To date, City Health has provided funding of more than R2,1 million for projects in Dunoon, Brown’s Farm, Khayelitsha, Wesbank and Atlantis to have just over 6 000 pets sterilised.‘We are committed to provide ongoing support in this regard through co-funding of further mass sterilisation campaigns to help address over-population caused by rampant, uncontrolled breeding. To this we would like to add humane education programmes which we are discussing with the forum members. The latter can play an important role in helping to build a compassionate and caring society, which in turn benefits both the City and CAWF members in reducing the number of cases of cruelty and neglect. One just needs to look at the statistics around animal complaints and attacks to know that we need to improve our efforts around promoting responsible pet ownership,’ said Alderman Smith.
‘The concurrence of animal cruelty with other forms of violence compounds the harms connected with it. The link between the physical abuse of animals and violence should prompt police and law enforcement officials to look for other forms of neglect, drug abuse or gang violence. A number of dog breeds are displayed as status symbols, especially among adolescents and aspiring gang members. It is an undeniable fact that backyard breeding, illegal trading of animals, and dog fighting is rife. Our inspectors are witness to this on a daily basis. The underlying conditions that allow for animal cruelty to occur echo the risk factors for social violence. To generalise and presume that those who abuse animals will resort to physical violence would be unjust; however, being vigilant about the potential concurrence of different forms of violence, abuse and neglect is only prudent. With consistent humane education and outreach initiatives, an offender can be enlightened and rehabilitated and in time become a responsible and caring pet owner,’ said CAWF spokesperson, Jessica Perrins.
The City has also reiterated its commitment to working with CAWF, which is a recognised umbrella body. Such partnerships with community organisations are a key component of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which emphasises the value of partnerships in making progress.
‘We invite all registered non-governmental organisations to join the CAWF so that there can be one voice and an effective partnership with City,’ said CAWF Chairperson, Veronica Nel.
Other resolutions from the meeting included:
· That CAWF would make recommendations on the revision of the Animal By-law, including enhancing sections dealing with equines (the harnesses and bridles are now regulated by SANS standards), the issue of mandatory sterilisation, and the breeding of animals for and sale of animals in pet shops
· That the City will investigate the possibility of further regulations around the discharge of fireworks
· That animal welfare inspectors working for non-governmental organisations be authorised to enforce the City’s Animal By-law to further strengthen their ability to protect against animal cruelty and abuse
· A request from the animal welfare organisations that Alderman Smith be appointed the patron of the CAWF
‘I am truly honoured to have been chosen as patron of the Cape Animal Welfare Forum. We have many organisations doing sterling work every day to protect the many vulnerable pets and working animals in our city. The City also has a particular interest in animal welfare and aside from the Animal By-law introduced in 2010, we have also started increasing our funding for the animal welfare sector to enhance and support the work that they do. The City is keen to further extend its involvement in this critical sector through a focus on humane education and improvements to our by-laws and policies that will further protect and defend our animal companions in the city and we will continue the working closely with the forum in that regard,’ said Alderman Smith.