Bulawayo residents divided over stray dogs ‘shoot to kill’ move

By Staff Reporter

A public notice by the Bulawayo City Council that it will shoot down stray dogs has left residents in the city divided.

The local authority noted that there was an increase in the number of dogs infected with rabies.

“The City of Bulawayo has noted that there is an increasing number of rabies-positive dogs and people who are bitten by stray dogs in the city,” said Sikhangele Zhou, the Acting Town Clerk.

“Dog owners and the general public are hereby advised that in terms of the Bulawayo Dog Licensing and Control bylaws, no person shall keep in the council area more than two dogs on any property measuring less than 2 000 cubic metres. No person shall allow his dogs to roam outside his premises without restrain.”

Zhou said during the exercise they will not hesitate to shoot any stray dogs.

“Dogs within council area shall be vaccinated against rabies and licensed,” she said adding that, “Please be advised that the City of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Department of Veterinary Services and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will be enforcing a tie up order as from February 23 2015 to April 22 2015. All stray dogs found during this period will be shot.”

Residents who spoke to 263Chat expressed varying opinions on the issue.

“It is cruelty on the part of the city council to shoot down dogs, even if they are stray dogs. Instead they should capture them and take them to the SPCA for safe keeping,” said Mordecai Sibindi.

Sharon Gumbo said it was always impossible to keep the dogs locked up all the time and it would be unfair for the city council to shoot down any dogs they come across without first determining their state.

However, the City Council’s move received support from a section of the public.

“It is a noble move by council to remove stray dogs from our neighbourhood. We have lots of them and they are a nuisance,” said Norbert Moyo.

“If a person decides to keep a dog they have to make sure that their premises are fenced or walled. If your yard has no fence or wall then you have no business keeping a dog because it will be roaming all over the place and can be a danger to other people,” said Nkululeko Pilime.

Other residents complained that the local authority was being unfair by restricting them to only two dogs per household.

‘I have had three dogs since they were puppies and they have become part of the family. I can’t just give away one of them when I am capable of taking care of my dogs and I keep them confined in my house,” said Richard Mugomba.

The move will likely set the local authority and backyard dog breeders in a collision course, as the former tend to keep many dogs in their premises.

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