Pounds Bill

Laws governing animal pounds are currently a provincial matter and each province has its own legislation. Because municipalities are directly affected, ordinances in the various provincial and municipal regulations apply.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) published the proposed National Animal Pounds Bill on 18 April 2013 for comments.

The aim of the intended act is to determine national norms and standards for the managing of pound facilities and the impounding of animals. The RPO constituted a working group to comment on the bill. The comments were also provided to affiliates of AgriSA for further consideration. All role players’ comments have been passed on to the department for consideration.

Stock from elsewhere

If a landowner finds stock on his farm not belonging to him, the owner of the stock is normally accountable for any damage they cause by grazing there, even if there is no negligence involved. The owner of the stock is accountable, even if the animals gained access through the negligence of a third party, for instance someone who left the gate to a neighbouring property open.

Such animals may not stay on your land longer than 48 hours after you have noticed them, unless you have sent a written notice to the animals’ owner or, if you do not know who the owner is, notified the nearest pound master. You may not sell the animals. If you do that, the owner could claim the value of the animals from you as well as the loss he suffered as a result of the sale. You will also be guilty of an offence.

In the event that you find animals from outside South Africa on your land, you must isolate the animals and notify the state veterinary services, who will instruct you on what to do with the animals.

Anyone who delivers an animal to the pound master is entitled to a fee for driving or conveying the animal, as set out in the provincial ordinances. If one of your workers takes the animal to the pound, send a note with him, with a description of the animal and authorising the worker to hand over the animal to the pound master.

The pound master may recover the prescribed transport costs, pound costs and other expenses to vaccinate, dip or treat the animal before the impounded animal is released.

If the animal is not claimed, the pound master can sell it for cash at a public auction.

Untethered animals

Serious problems are also experienced with untethered animals, particularly on streets and along roads. The biggest concern is the car accidents caused by these animals, which could result in loss of life and extensive damage to vehicles. Sometimes these animals also enter people’s properties and damage plants and even vehicles.

The stock theft unit may confiscate these untethered animals and take them to a pound. The owners will have to pay an amount to get the animals back. However, not all towns have pounds.

Stock owners must appoint herdsmen to mind their animals at all times. Severe fines could be issued to guilty owners when untethered animals are identified as their property.