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Monday Jan 19, 2015

Proposal to allow leash-free dogs in Durban park

Durban dog lovers have submitted a proposal to the city's Parks, Recreation and Culture unit to have official leash-free hours for their furry friends at Jameson Park in Innes Road.

A dog enjoys time off its leash.

The proposal was submitted through local ward councillor Martin Meyer as a pilot project which will allow owners to let their pets run free.

The proposal included installing water troughs and poo refuse bag dispensers.

Owners would be responsible for ensuring their dogs behave and don't attack, as well as picking up after their pets.

Currently, dogs are allowed in on a lead as stipulated in the bylaws that all dogs are leashed in public. While there still is no clarity regarding the outcome of the proposal, City Watch visited the park this week and spotted a number of dogs running around without leads - despite a sign at the entrance of the park indicating dogs must be on leads.

We noticed that most owners had plastic bags that they used to pick up after their dogs. All welcomed the proposal. Kim Samuels, who runs Project Dog which rescues and re-homes dogs, was walking her three dogs.

She supported the proposal saying dogs needed to exercise off their leads and run around freely. "The dogs generally all get along and the owners are all responsible. There is no other public space for dogs to run free. My dogs love it. Also many of the dogs I've rescued and re-homed are brought here and it's good to see how they are doing."

Michael Reynish was walking his dog Zee. "I come to the park twice a day, morning and afternoon, and have for almost 50 years. I have never had a problem with dogs off their leads. The bylaw is unofficially ignored. This park is secure so dogs don't run out and we feel safe here."

Caroline Jankovich who owns a B&B near the park said overseas visitors often frequented the park. She has been campaigning for the park to become an official dog park for years. "I have been visiting this park for 42 years and often brought my three sons here when they were growing up. Owners are responsible and dogs are well behaved. It's an enjoyable experience for everyone. We hope the proposal is accepted."

Tozi Mthethwa, head of the eThekwini Municipality's communication unit, did not respond to detailed questions sent this week.

Sunday Tribune


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