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Omaruru mayor's dogs bother neighbours

By Dirck Kuzatjike
OMARURU 16 MAR (NAMPA) – Omaruru Mayor Hendrina Gebhardt stands accused of not following a Dog Control Regulations bylaw that she signed into power last May.
Eight of her neighbours in Extension Four, a neighbourhood of mostly senior citizens, have been complaining since January about her dogs’ howling and barking that keep them awake at night.
They claim the mayor’s dogs also invade their properties and defecate on their plants.
The complaints started when the mayor had five dogs, which was in contravention of the bylaw that stipulates a limit of three dogs per household. Two of Gebhardt’s dogs have since died.
These laws also state that “a person may not keep a dog which barks, whimpers or howls to such an extent that it, or has a habit which causes disturbance or nuisance to inhabitants of the neighbourhood”.
Dog owners should also make sure that their dogs are confined to their premises or when out on the street, dogs should be on leashes and under control.
On conviction, fines not exceeding N.dollars 2 000 are payable or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both.
Various emails, letters and calls to Gebhardt by the neighbours apparently never received a response. Nampa this week saw copies of the letters, emails and a petition signed by the aggrieved neighbours.
In their petition dated 22 February and addressed to municipal officials including Gebhardt; Deputy Mayor Julia Kahuure; acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elifas Amunyela; and Assistant Environmental Health Officer, Engelhard Ndjiharine, the neighbours called on the mayor to reduce her number of dogs, keep her yard secure and consider sterilising her bitches.
In response Gebhard said: “That is elitist behaviour, those people poisoned my dogs”.
Gebhard told Nampa on the sidelines of a town council meeting on Monday the problem dogs are those of illegal farmers who have invaded a municipal camp next to her house. She said one of her bitches attracts male dogs when she is on heat.
One of the aggrieved neighbours, Jean Fischer, told Nampa on Wednesday that the mayor’s comments on them being elitist does not warrant a response.
“We will meet and see what next we can do,” she said.
Ndjiharine told Nampa Wednesday the petition was received and forwarded to the CEO’s office for consideration.
Ndjiharine said the bylaw on dog control is a good law but is difficult to implement in the absence of a body such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
“Where will we hold the unruly dogs? If the need arises, council will have to set up the required infrastructure if the SPCA is not established here,” he said.
He said if they start dealing with the mayor’s dogs, they should also deal with hundreds of other dogs roaming in Ozondje.
The SPCA has branches in the capital, Otjiwarongo, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Lüderitz.
Silvia Breitenstein, SPCA Windhoek manager, told Nampa on Wednesday there are a number of factors involved in establishing an SPCA, including sourcing of operational funds, infrastructure, forming a committee and maintaining it.
Their infrastructure in Windhoek was provided by the municipality.
(NAMPA)
DK/LI/ND

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