Neighbours up in arms over wandering Kranshoek horses
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.
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.
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.”
“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.