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5 Apr 2012

The City of Cape Town’s 2010 Animal Bylaw became effective on 1 April 2012. It applies only to animals kept on premises within the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town. These are discussed in point 5 below.

The bylaw prescribes:


The maximum number of dogs and cats that are allowed to be kept, depending on the size of the dwelling/property, are as follows:
Type of Property
Size of Property
Maximum Number of Dogs/Cats

Dwelling Unit
E.g. Flat/Duplex
2 Dogs / 4 Cats
Dwelling House
Less than 600 m² erf
3 Dogs / 4 Cats
Large Dwelling House
More than 600 m² erf
4 Dogs / 4 Cats
Agricultural Property
Land zoned for Agricultural use
6 Dogs / 6 Cats



2.1 All dogs must be registered with the Council . Owners can make use of two application options: via e-mail or manually via printed forms. Electronic forms can be downloaded from the City’s website or requested from the following e-mail address: Printed forms can be obtained from any City Law Enforcement Office or local Public Library. Registration can be done online by clicking on the pet registration link under ‘Campaigns and Programmes’ (bottom left of screen) on the City’s website at Registration is free of charge.

2.2 The exact wording of the provision relating to registration of dogs is somewhat problematic. It requires as follows: ”3(1) The owner of a property where one or more dogs are kept must register the dog or dogs with the Council.” This appears, oddly, to require a Landlord of leased premises to register any dogs that are kept by Tenants on his property, presuming the lease agreement allows the Landlord to keep dogs on the premises. It would be prudent that Landlords include a provision in their lease agreements to the effect that the Tenant must furnish the Landlord with proof of registration of the animal with the Council by the Tenant (as owner of the dog).
2.2.1 Anyone wishing to keep more dogs than the number prescribed, may apply to the municipality for a permit to do so (or must be in possession of a permit to keep kennels).
2.2.2 Specific provisions and exemptions apply if the dogs are kept at a kennel, pound, belong to the Metropolitan Police, are trained under the auspices of the SA Guide Dogs Association and the like.
2.2.3 Dog registration must take place within 4 months of the dog’s birth or within 30 days of acquiring a dog.

Specific Prohibitions

2.5 You may not
• allow or leave your dog, when on heat, in any public street or public place;
• urge any dog to attack, worry or frighten any person or animal or, through negligence, fail to prevent any dog from attacking, worrying or frightening any person or animal, except if it was necessary in defence of the person or his animal or his property;
• keep a dog that causes damage to public property;
• keep a dog that barks, yelps, howls or whines for more than six accumulated minutes in an hour, or more than three accumulated minutes in an half hour;
• keep a dog that is a nuisance to inhabitants of your neighbourhood, for example by being in the habit of charging any vehicle, animals, poultry, pigeons or persons outside any premises where it is kept; or by misbehaving in any other manner;
• allow your dog to be in any public space while it is suffering from any infectious or contagious disease;
• keep a dog which is, in the assessment of the authorized official, ferocious, vicious or dangerous to be in any public street or public place;
• keep a dog that trespasses on private property, constitutes a hazard to traffic using any public street, constitutes or is likely to constitute a source of danger or injury to any person outside the premises on which the dog is kept.

2.6 You must:
• remove and dispose of dog faeces regularly and suitably;
• properly feed and provide shelter and water for your dog;
• keep your dog on a leash and under control when in any public street or public place unless the dog is in an area designated by the Council as a free running area;
• ensure that your dog has a micro-chip or collar with its name and owner’s details;
• when walking your dog in any public street, place or road, remove the dog’s excrement, place it in a plastic or paper bag or wrapper and dispose of it in a receptacle provided for the deposit of litter or refuse. Note that you are prohibited to walk your dog in a public street, place or road, without carrying a sufficient number of plastic or paper bags or wrappers in which to place the dog’s excrement, should the dog defecate during the walk.
Seizure, impounding and putting down of dogs

2.7 An authorised official may seize and impound any dog which in his or her opinion constitutes a hazard to traffic in a public street; or that is at large and apparently without an owner; or that is found in any public place or public street where such a dog is, in the opinion of the authorised official, not on a leash or under proper control, unless the dog is in an area designated by the Council as a free running area; or that is starved or under-fed or denied water or adequate shelter; or is being kept in contravention of the provisions of the bylaw.

Fencing of property

2.8 You may not keep a dog unless your premises are properly and adequately fenced to keep the dog inside when it is not on a leash, unless the dog is confined to the premises in some other manner.
2.9 You may not keep an unsterilized dog over the age of 6 months unless you have permission to do so or the dog is registered by the Kennel Union of South Africa, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of South Africa, the S.A. Sheepdog Association, the German Shepherd Dog Federation, or S.A. Field Trials, or any other organization recognised by Council.


3.1 Anyone wishing to keep more cats than the number prescribed may apply to the municipality for a permit to do so (or must be in possession of a permit to keep a cattery).
3.2 You must ensure that your cat has a micro-chip or collar with its name and owner’s details.
3.3 If you keep a cat that is over the age of 6 months it must be sterilized unless permission granted by the Council not to do so.
3.4 An authorised official may cause a cat to be sterilized should he or she deem it necessary, or on the request of the owner and the costs thereof may be recovered from the owner.


Offences and penalties

4.1 It is an offence to contravene or fail to comply with any provisions of this Bylaw or with any order or notice lawfully issued thereunder and the animal owner may be fined or imprisoned for up to 2 years. In addition, any court convicting any person of keeping any animal which is not kept under control in accordance with the provisions of this bylaw may order that the animal be put down.


4.2 Visit the Q&A section on the City’s website
4.3 The bylaw itself can be downloaded here [105.32KB]


5.1 Dog owners are granted a 9 month period (from 1 April 2012) in which to register their dogs.
5.2 Cat owners are granted a 6 month period in which to ensure that their cats have micro-chips or collars with the details of the owners.
5.3 The provisions relating to the sterilization of dogs and cats takes effect 6 months after 1 April 2012, i.e. on 1 October.