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Oudtshoorn Municipality Clarifies Position On Animal Welfare Shelters At Municipal Animal Pound

Oudtshoorn, 03 August 2023The Oudtshoorn Municipality would like to address recent developments regarding the issuing of eviction notices to two animal welfare organizations utilizing the Oudtshoorn Municipal animal pound.

During a press conference held on 01 August 2023, the Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Alderman Chris Macpherson emphasised that it is essential to understand the distinction between an animal pound and an animal shelter. “An animal pound, managed by the local government, serves as a facility where stray animals and livestock are temporarily held following legislative guidelines until they can be claimed by their respective owners. On the other hand, an animal shelter is typically established through charitable contributions and offers a temporary haven for dogs, cats, and other animals, facilitating their adoption into caring homes,” Mayor Macpherson noted.

Eviction notices were issued after careful consideration and in accordance with the municipality’s commitment to responsible governance. The Oudtshoorn Municipality recognises the important role that animal welfare organisations play in protecting the interests of animals in our community. The municipality, on the other hand, must prioritise adherence to established protocols.

Over the years, various organizations, operating under different names and leadership, have been involved in animal welfare efforts, with the pound serving as a temporary haven for animals awaiting adoption. This engagement evolved to the extent that these organizations gradually assumed control over the shelter’s operations.

Recently, it became evident that the existing animal pound premises were not suitable, prompting discussions regarding relocation. Initially, a location at the municipal depot was proposed, but community opposition led to the redirection of that site for other purposes. Subsequently, a decision was made to relocate the shelter to a plot of land across the road, generously provided by a local farmer.

As part of the relocation process, a municipal resolution was passed on 10 October 2022, requiring all organizations to vacate the pound premises by 10 March 2023 and make suitable arrangements for their animals. Representatives of these organizations approached the municipality for extensions, which were granted, providing them with additional time to secure alternative housing and gradually reduce the number of animals under their care.

Oudtshoorn Diereherberg, one of the animal welfare organisations, recently reached out to the municipality to request an extension, citing significant progress in preparing their own dedicated facility. With sponsor support, they acquired land, roofing materials, bricks, fencing, and gates, and enlisted an architect to develop construction plans. In response, the Director of Community Services granted them an additional three-month permit to complete their relocation efforts.  Odin, the other animal welfare organisation, also requested an extension on 25 July at which time they had 30 dogs at the pound. They indicated that they got offered alternative grounds to establish kennels. On Monday, 31 July 2023, they had 17 dogs at the pound, and they were granted an extension till 31 August 2023 to remove the remaining dogs.

“Overall, the Oudtshoorn Municipality is dedicated to establishing an improved animal pound facility, complying with legal obligations, and creating an environment where impounded animals receive adequate attention and treatment.”