Owning a pet: what the law says

Owning a pet is about more than having a loving companion. It is also a big responsibility governed by the law of the land. Ignoring these laws could result in a substantial cash fine or time in prison.

According to the Animal Protection Act of 1962, anyone who does not follow the regulations set out by the Act and its bylaws may be fined up to R4 000, and could even face imprisonment for a period of 12 months. It is important to know the legal requirements of pet ownership in your city before you bring a pet into your home,  says Adrian Goslett, the regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

What the law says

  1. Pet owners must provide adequate shelter that is ventilated and light but protected from excessive cold, heat, weather, sun, rain, dust or exhaust gasses or noxious fumes.
  2. Pet owners must provide suitable food, potable water and rest.
  3. Animals may not be chained, tethered or secured unnecessarily, or in a manner that causes the animal unnecessary suffering.

If your pet sleeps outside, make sure you comply with the requirements above or you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the law! Few kennels provide good protection against the elements: ensure yours is water and wind proof and is positioned away from harsh sun or rain.

How many pets can I have?

There is also a law that restricts the number of animals you are allowed to keep according to the type of property you own.  Each region will have their own bylaws on this, but with most a maximum of two dogs is allowed in a sectional title unit, three in a freestanding property and four in or at a large property exceeding 600sqm and up to  six dogs on an agricultural property. For cats, no more than four can be kept on any residential property, and no more than six can be kept on an agricultural property.

In the interest of public health and safety, if you want to keep unusual or exotic pets other than the usual dogs, cats, fish, birds and rodents, you will need a permit from your local council before you can keep it in a residential area.

Obeying the laws not only protects you against prosecution, it also protects your pet from harm and encourages more responsible pet ownership.

extracts from an article by Property24.com