John Scott Masthead
May 3 2012 at 11:09

What better way to spend Workers’ Day than working on my application to have our two dogs municipally registered, failing which, after August 30 I am liable to be fined R300 and have them impounded.

This is in terms of a new Cape Town by-law. It can all be done on-line and costs nothing but, by Jove, the city fathers, not to mention the City Mother, want a lot of detail. So I gave it to them.

Naturally full name and address, ID number, phone numbers, municipal account number, erf number and even a business partner number, which I didn’t know I had, not having a business partner, until I found it on our monthly rates account.

Then for the animals, with spaces for their particulars down to “Pet 6”.

Pet 1, in our case, was dog. The city then wished to have a brief description and name. I wrote: “Lovely nature – loves everybody and thinks everybody loves her. Kali is named after a very fierce multi-limbed Hindu goddess.”

Breed: Staffordshire terrier. Colour: Brindle, with white paws and chest. Gender: “Female, but don’t call her a bitch.” Date of birth/age: Born September 2006, which makes her five years and seven months.

Sterilised? Yes/No: “Yes, she’s a sports model.”

Pet 2: Another dog. Brief description and name: “Very wilful and disobedient. Hard of hearing. Wants to bonk all other dogs irrespective of gender, though officially a eunuch. Stanford is named after the village where we found him, but he is called Stan for short, though he doesn’t come when called anyway.”

Breed: “Problematic. A sort of mixture between a fox terrier and a beagle, with a very low undercarriage. We call him a Stanford terrier, and some people nod wisely and say yes, they know the breed.”

Colour: Black and white. Gender: “Theoretically male.”

Date of birth/age: “Also problematic. He was allegedly two when we adopted him from the pets’ home 7/8 years ago, but he is very grey round the gills now, and he could be quite a lot older than 10.”

Sterilised? Yes/No: “Ja, he was done before we got him.”

I thought that should satisfy the council, and it did. I doubt whether they get such conscientiously completed forms from other pet owners. Almost instantly I received a reply thanking me for taking the time, and giving me what it called “your unique number”. It is so unique that I have no intention of publishing it in this column. Who knows what some avid PS reader who is also an evil-doer might do with it.

While on the city’s website ( I also discovered they have a lost pet service called CityPetFinder. And that two more drinking fountains for dogs were officially unveiled on the Sea Point promenade last month, thanks to the generosity of British swallows Peter and Janina Cramb who have spent every summer in Cape Town for the past 10 years.

I remember when the city set up doggy loos (poles surrounded by a patch of sand) and meeting Gordon Oliver, before he became mayor, on Plumstead Park where one of the loos had been built. We waited in vain for a dog to come up and do his business, but the local canine community were as highly suspicious of it as Makhaza’s residents were of open-air toilets, and gave it a wide berth.

Let no one accuse the city of not trying to cater to all its inhabitants’ needs.


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