Home » Politics » Zimbabwe: Strict Dog By-Laws Loom

Harare City Council is set to introduce strict dog licensing and control by-laws, which will among other things, require residents to apply to keep dogs. Failure to comply with sections of the by-laws will attract a jail term not exceeding six months. According to the Harare Dog Licensing and Control By-Laws 2015, no person may keep more than two dogs at a dwelling house.

The law makes it an offence to keep more than four dogs, or allow more than four dogs, over the age of six months to be kept in or at premises containing one or two dwelling units. "No person may keep more than six dogs, or allow more than six dogs, over the age of six months to be kept on an agricultural property or four dogs, or allow more than four dogs, over the age of six months to be kept on or at any other premises.

"Subject to Section 4, no person shall keep any dog on a premise for any portion of a year commencing on the 1st day of January unless he or she has applied for and obtained a permit. An application in terms of Subsection 1 must be in writing on a prescribed form and must be accompanied by the prescribed fee and an affidavit by the applicant and other documentary evidence that the applicant has for a period of 14 days prior to the date of the application," reads part of the by-law.

According to the by-law, council may require the applicant to provide further information which in its opinion, considers relevant to enable it to make an informed decision. Council may refuse to consider an application if enough information has not been furnished and it may refuse an application subject to any conditions aimed at reducing the risk of any public health hazard created by the dogs on the premises.

A permit issued is not transferable from one person to another or from the premises in respect of which it had been issued, to other premises. The by-law outlaws keeping a dog which barks, whimpers or howls to such an extent that it, or has another habit which causes a disturbance or nuisance to inhabitants of the neighbourhood or keeping a dog which suffers from an infectious or contagious disease.

Harare has so far recorded 858 cases of dog bites since January, prompting the local authority to gun down stray dogs as part of measures to prevent the spread of rabies. In one week alone, the city had 35 reported cases of dog bites.

Source: The Herald.