Kenton residents and holiday-makers share the town with what is left of the town’s original animal population — endangered blue duiker, grey duiker, bushbuck, mongooses, genets, francolins and more. That’s what makes Kenton unique, and that’s also why it is imperative for us to ensure that all dogs, even the most harmless, are under control. There are no exceptions. There is no permit system to allow docile or even doddery old dogs off the leash. If we want dogs from across the R72 to be on leads, then dogs from this side of the R72 must also be on leads. The municipal bylaw is the same for everyone.
The Wildlife Protection Hotline which was set up in July this year is ‘manned’ by Hi Tec’s competent control room; its efficient staff keep a logbook dedicated to recording all incoming calls with details of the follow-up action taken. Over the period the control room has dealt with several calls. All the calls, except one about a Cape Gannet, were about dogs.
On one occasion a caller had seen a group of men coming out of the bushes near Land’s End accompanied by three dogs. The dogs were not on leads. The circumstances led the caller to believe that the dogs may have been used for hunting. Hi Tec called the police to investigate. One of the men was known to the police as an offender. The police issued a warning.
On 20 November a lady from Bushmans River called to report that a grey duiker had been found dead next to a road in the early hours of the morning. It had been mauled by a dog or dogs.
All the other calls about dogs concerned strays and lost dogs.
Two of the dogs were taken to the SPCA because the vet, Dr Bowker, had not been able to locate micro-chips, and the dogs had no collars. The owner of one of the dogs claimed her dog from the SPCA. The other dog was eventually adopted by a lady from Bathhurst.
The SPCA holds dogs on behalf of the municipality for seven days. Thereafter they become the property of the SPCA. The owner who reclaimed her dog had to pay the following:
- a fee for kennel costs and admin costs at around R85 per day (for a medium sized dog);
- a collar and ID disc at the cost of another R70;
The Kenton Wildlife Protection initiative paid for the cost of delivering the dogs to the SPCA. If the SPCA fetches a dog from Kenton it adds another R75 to the cost.
If an owner fails to collect a dog or cat within seven days, the owner then has the additional expense of paying an ‘adoption fee’ of R450. In addition the owner must become a member of the SPCA at a cost of R140.
During this time, one stray dog was caught in a snare. The matter was reported to Lee Fogarty who cut the wire to release the dog. The dog was not harmed significantly. It was returned to its owner, who agreed to keep it under control.
The Rotary Club of Kenton continues to look for snares every five or six weeks. At the end of his October round with two conservancy guards, Brian Pachonick reported that no snares were found. They saw a grey duiker near Dolphin Coast and another in Dry Bones Valley, where they also found bushbuck spoor. On the November round, Tony Wiener, again reported that they did not find any snares. They saw a bushbuck ram and three grey duiker, but no blue duiker.
There is no cause for complacency. Protecting wildlife in the ever-dwindling bits of habitat is going to become more difficult. The buck do move out of the reserve and into town, particularly in the mating season and when food is scarce.
In September the Wildlife Protection initiative met with representatives from the Eastern Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAET) to discuss the question of training and appointing honorary nature conservators (HNCOs). If anyone is interested in becoming an honorary conservator to assist with wildlife protection here in Kenton, please send an sms to 082 664 8471.