Guide­lines for keep­ing birds as pets

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Able to do the one thing we all wish our cats and dogs could do, birds of­fer all of the com­pan­ion­ship value of our furry friends, with the bonus of be­ing able to re­spond to us in a lan­guage we can ac­tu­ally un­der­stand. But, are you break­ing any laws by cre­at­ing a home for your feath­ered friend?

"An­i­mal by-laws vary ac­cord­ing to each city coun­cil, so it's ad­vis­able to get in touch with your lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity be­fore you pur­chase any pet that could po­ten­tially be con­sid­ered as ei­ther ex­otic or wild," sug­gests Adrian Goslett, re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa.

Though laws are slightly nu­anced across the country, the ba­sis of the laws gen­er­ally re­main the same. Ac­cord­ing to the Western Cape Govern­ment web­site, "Birds in cap­tiv­ity only need a per­mit if the bird species is clas­si­fied as pro­tected or en­dan­gered". This rule is much the same across the na­tion. If you did want to keep a bird that be­longs to ei­ther of these cat­e­gories, then you will have to ap­ply for a per­mit.

Most lo­cal pet shops ought to be aware of the process re­quired for ap­ply­ing for such a per­mit.

Ac­cord­ing to most mu­nic­i­pal by-laws, home­own­ers may keep birds in res­i­den­tial ar­eas as long as they "take ef­fec­tive mea­sures for the pre­ven­tion of har­bour­ing and breed­ing of and for the de­struc­tion of flies, cock­roaches, ro­dents and other ver­min; and main­tain the premises free from of­fen­sive odours aris­ing from the keep­ing of birds and poul­try; and en­sure that poul­try or birds do not dis­turb or hin­der the com­fort, con­ve­nience, peace or quiet of the pub­lic." In short, what these laws mean is that, apart from en­sur­ing the health and safety of your pet, your keep­ing a bird in your home can­not in any way lead to the dis­com­fort of your neigh­bours. Noise com­plaints are one of the most fre­quent is­sues par­rot own­ers face. Ig­nor­ing a neigh­bour's com­plaint about the noise is a form of il­le­gal be­hav­iour that you can be fined or even ar­rested for.

To keep your bird from mak­ing too much noise - keep­ing in mind that it is part of their nat­u­ral in­stincts to chirp through­out the day - you need to keep you bird in a calm­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The more stressed or anx­ious a bird feels, the more noise it will make. Keep your bird­cage in a quiet room away from jar­ring sounds and street noise, and out of your neigh­bours' earshot. Keep­ing a blan­ket over the cage will also help to lull Polly Par­rot into a peace­ful sleep when­ever she gets a bit too en­thu­si­as­tic with her squawk­ing.

"My ad­vice to home­own­ers who want to keep birds as pets is to avoid sec­tional ti­tles. The prox­im­ity to your neigh­bours in these kinds of homes in­evitably re­sults in com­plaints of some kind. Beyond that, most sec­tional ti­tles are gov­erned by HOAS with strict rules against pets of any kind. Free­hold properties will al­ways of­fer the best sort of home for buy­ers who know they want to keep pets," Goslett con­cludes.

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