The topic of dogs on Overstrand beaches and in public spaces has been a controversial issue for many years.
While dogs are allowed to enjoy the beaches and coastal paths, their movements are restricted to comply with the Overstrand Municipality’s By-law on Dogs and Cats as well as international Blue Flag requirements.
Section 6(2) and (3) of the above by-law are clear both in context and literal interpretation: “No person may or cause to allow any dog to be in a public place unless it is kept on a leash.” Note that public spaces include any beach, road, path, bridge, footpath or garden, and any other place under the control of the municipality.
Dog owners making use of Overstrand’s beaches that earned Blue Flag status – Grotto, Hawston, Castle, Onrus and Kleinmond – must respect the international Blue Flag requirements that no dogs will be allowed on the Blue Flag demarcated areas whilst the Blue Flag is flying.
People who walk their dogs must have bags with them to pick up dog droppings. Please do not bury dog poop in the sand or throw it out to sea.
Spot fines might be issued to people who transgress the law. Dogs that are off-leash do not only pose a problem to people using public facilities, it is also dangerous should someone or another dog get attacked and hurt in the process. This could further lead to third party claims against the owner of the off-leash dog. Dogs remain an animal and while we might think that our pooches will behave off leash, only one trigger is needed to change it into an aggressor.
Blue Flag is an international coastal management programme that accredits beaches that meet standards of excellence in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and information as well as safety and services. The programme offers many benefits such as improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, increased awareness of the coast and capacity building of coastal municipalities. Please keep the bigger picture in mind and help us to retain this status.