Neig­hbours up in arms o­ver wan­de­ring Krans­hoek horses

Knysna-Plett Herald - - From The Town Hall - Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

A group of Krans­hoek re­si­dents and ad­ja­cent lan­do­w­ners are at their wits’ end af­ter mo­re than a de­ca­de of put­ting up with freero­a­ming horses and catt­le, t­hey claim, le­a­ve a trail of de­structi­on in their wa­ke.

The horses – w­ho­se o­w­ners al­le­ge­d­ly let them wan­der free­ly inste­ad of keeping them in camps – are said to ha­ve not on­ly cau­sed ma­jor in­con­ve­nien­ce to re­si­dents but ha­ve cau­sed thou­sands of rands of de­structi­on, led to high vet bills and still po­se a dan­ger to lo­cals and vi­si­tors.

Neig­hbours claim t­hey ha­ve been knocking on Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s door sin­ce be­fo­re 2008 for the lo­cal law en­for­ce­ment u­nit to de­al with the pro­blem, but that t­he­se ple­as ha­ve fal­len on de­af e­ars.

The is­sue has o­ver the last month in­ten­si­fied af­ter ma­ny fen­ces we­re burnt do­wn du­ring the re­cent fi­res in P­let­ten­berg Bay.

DESTROYING CROPS

Ve­ge­ta­ble far­mer An­dré Bar­nard ex­plai­ned that for y­e­ars now, ro­ving catt­le and horses ha­ve been bre­a­king through his fen­cing and destroying his crops. “T­hey just eat e­ver­y­thing in sig­ht. Not on­ly do t­hey da­ma­ge my fen­cing that cos­ts thou­sands to re­pla­ce, but t­hey de­stroy crops worth thou­sands too,” Bar­nard.

He said that he has been re­por­ting the is­sue to law en­for­ce­ment and that of­fi­cers of­ten do go out to pick up the stray a­ni­mals, but that be­fo­re long the is­sue re­ars its he­ad a­gain.

“And you can’t do a­ny­thing a­bout it. Our hands are tied.”

A­not­her re­si­dent, El­ma­rie van Zyl, said she be­ca­me in­vol­ved with this is­sue in Sep­tem­ber 2015, w­hen a Krans­hoek stal­li­on bro­ke through their ga­te and co­ve­r­ed her ma­re. “Not on­ly did the da­ma­ge to the ga­te and sub­se­quent im­pro­vements to de­ter the horses cost a­bout R4 000, but my ma­re had to be tre­a­ted by a vet. “Aut­ho­ri­ties are very po­li­te and very help­ful, but the a­ni­mals go back to their o­w­ners, who don’t seem to be a­ble to ca­re for them and t­hey are back on our pro­per­ties, so­meti­mes within days,” Van Zyl said. She has do­cu­ments re­cor­ding t­he­se pro­blems, to­get­her with the is­sue of kids ra­cing t­he­se horses da­ting back to 2008.

HORSES RE­TURN

She ad­ded that the a­ni­mals en­te­red their pro­per­ties, so­meti­mes e­ven dai­ly.

In Ja­nu­a­ry, she said, a­not­her stal­li­on tried to get through a 2m high fen­ce and be­ca­me stuck.

“The stal­li­on was sup­po­sed to be im­poun­ded and ta­ken to Ge­or­ge SPCA, be­cau­se this was the se­cond ti­me in three days that he was on so­meo­ne’s farm, yet he was just ta­ken back to the o­w­ner, to­get­her with a hal­ter, le­ad rein and hay net of mi­ne, which I ne­ver got back. This was worth a­bout R240.”

She ad­ded that the horses, es­pe­ci­al­ly, we­re of­ten found to be un­der­fed, o­ver­wor­ked or in­ju­red. “Not on­ly are the a­ni­mals at risk of being at­tac­ked by dogs, or get­ting in­ju­red whi­le bre­a­king through fen­ces, t­hey al­so po­se a risk to re­si­dents and mo­to­ris­ts as t­hey of­ten walk on the main ro­ads.”

One of the lo­cals who ca­me c­lo­se to in­ju­ry as a re­sult of stray a­ni­mals was Vi­nia Zaay­man, who was char­ged by a bull whi­le trying to cha­se catt­le off her pro­per­ty.

‘DOGS GO BERSERK’

Her hus­band Lee Zaay­man said the a­ni­mals re­gu­lar­ly ma­ke their way on­to their smal­l­hol­ding cau­sing ha­voc a­mong their dogs. “The dogs go berserk and it of­ten hap­pens du­ring the e­ar­ly hours of the mor­ning.

Not on­ly are t­hey cau­sing trau­ma to our a­ni­mals, but t­hey are al­so at risk of being at­tac­ked by dogs or ot­her a­ni­mals.” He said that t­hey, too, ha­ve com­plai­ned a­bout the is­sue, but that their ple­as ha­ve al­so fal­len on de­af e­ars. “Of­fi­ci­als ha­ve been very quick to re­spond and ha­ve re­al­ly been ni­ce, but the­re are al­ways ex­cu­ses a­bout why the a­ni­mals can’t be ta­ken a­way or im­poun­ded.

Re­si­dent An­ne­ma­rie Lot­ter said alt­hough she has not been af­fected in terms of de­structi­on of her pro­per­ty, that the horses and catt­le are a nuis­an­ce and of­ten co­me on­to her land.

Van Zyl said that o­w­ners we­re gi­ven a pie­ce of fen­ced land in the vi­ci­ni­ty, on which the horses could be kept free of char­ge, but that this on­ly las­ted for a few days, until the o­w­ners took them out of the­re a­gain, clai­ming t­hey wan­ted their horses clo­ser. “And so the pro­blem con­ti­nues.”

A­NI­MALS MALTREATED

“The fact that t­he­se horses ro­am free­ly, isn’t the on­ly is­sue. The horses are caug­ht by young­sters, gal­lo­ped a­round on roc­ky ground until t­hey are dren­ched in swe­at, and of­ten with wi­res in their mout­hs, be­a­ten on with sticks, so­meti­mes with two child­ren on them. This has cau­sed se­ver­al horses’ de­at­hs. We ha­ve been told no­thing can be do­ne be­cau­se t­hey are mi­nors. This is u­naccep­ta­ble.”

She said that o­ver the y­e­ars, ma­ny pe­op­le tried to co­me up with a so­lu­ti­on to this pro­blem, but had to gi­ve up e­ven­tu­al­ly.

“The bottom li­ne is that law en­for­ce­ment is the on­ly en­ti­ty that can en­for­ce the law.

Let­ting your a­ni­mals ro­am free and cau­sing a nuis­an­ce to neig­hbours is a­gainst our by­laws. Wit­hout their acti­ons – not ex­cu­ses or pro­mi­ses – no­thing can chan­ge.”

Se­ni­or ma­na­ger for Bi­tou pu­blic sa­fe­ty An­di­le Sa­ka­ti said that stray a­ni­mals is a Bi­tou-wi­de pro­blem, and that the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has been de­a­ling with this is­sue through its law en­for­ce­ment u­nit by eng­a­ging with com­mu­ni­ties, es­pe­ci­al­ly the o­w­ners of t­he­se a­ni­mals, re­gar­ding their re­spon­si­bi­li­ties.

“No­ti­ce of com­pli­an­ce has been is­su­ed to o­w­ners as per by­laws. Fi­nes ha­ve al­so been is­su­ed to of­fen­ders,” Sa­ka­ti said.

He ad­ded that a­bout 120 a­ni­mals we­re re­mo­ved from the a­rea and ta­ken to Ge­or­ge SCPCA.

“So­me of t­he­se a­ni­mals find their way back to the streets as soon as the o­w­ner pays fi­nes and fe­tch them from SCPCA.”

He furt­her said the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is wor­king with a­ni­mal wel­fa­re or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons and coope­ra­ti­ve o­w­ners to ad­dress the is­sue.

“The o­w­ners should ta­ke re­spon­si­bi­li­ty and con­t­rol o­ver the a­ni­mals.”

Horses in the Krans­hoek a­rea out­si­de P­let­ten­berg Bay are said to ha­ve not on­ly cau­sed ma­jor in­con­ve­nien­ce to re­si­dents but ha­ve cau­sed thou­sands of rands of de­structi­on, led to high vet bills and still po­se a dan­ger to lo­cals and vi­si­tors.

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