Dogs pose a threat at pools

A sign at the tidal pool.

Dog owners can land in the proverbial poo for letting their dogs loose at far south tidal pools, but that isn’t stopping some of them.

And Glencairn resident Cris du Preez says those dog owners who couldn’t care less are spoiling some of the choicest swimming spots for both locals and tourists alike.

She is also worried about what she says is the suspiciously short lifespan of “no dogs allowed” signage.

“I am shocked to see that in Simon’s Town – at all the small hidden gems, like Waters Edge, Windmill Beach and Glencairn tidal pool – so many people allow their dogs to swim, defecate and run around among children, pensioners and tourists.

“There is no regard for the safety of other swimmers. Imagine an international traveller being attacked or hurt by a dog while on holiday. Or imagine the tourist getting some bacterial disease from stepping on dog poo. Is this really what we want to offer tourists and fellow residents?”

Some residents felt that they “own” the pool and could do as they wish, she said.

“I can’t say who is vandalising the signs, but it’s very convenient that when I approach residents and ask them to please take their dogs home, they ask what signage there is to prove my point, and ignore me.”

The Glencairn tidal pool had been upgraded and the Muizenberg to Simon’s Town coast had many wonderful tourist attractions, but they were being spoilt by errant dog owners, she said.

“Just imagine a dog urinating in your picnic or beach bag.
You reach for a towel to dry your face after a cool swim, and your towel is wet and smells of urine,” she said.

Tidal pools were safe spaces where one shouldn’t have to fear a possibly hostile encounter with a dog, she said.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said dogs weren’t allowed at tidal pools because the faeces left behind was unhygienic and carried the “risk of disease”.

He added: “This is especially dangerous if left out in the open to decompose. There is a common myth that the faeces will get washed away with the tide, but this is less likely to occur than the faeces remaining in the body of the tidal pool. This practice is also unacceptable as it negatively affects water quality.”

The number of signs lost to vandalism or the elements could “vary from day to day”, he said.

Some dogs, he noted, also posed a physical threat to people and could cause anxiety for those with an inherent fear of them. Dogs could also be a nuisance, by barking, and pose an environmental threat by chasing birds that
could be breeding or with their young.

“Once chased away by a dog, many never return to the nest or to their young. Sometimes they get injured or die when caught by dogs,” he said.

Dog owners needed to be
aware of the areas where dogs
were prohibited, and they should act responsibly when with their dogs in permitted environments.

Lisa Beasely, a spokesperson for The Beach Co-Op, an environmental group, said a new “no dogs” sign at Glencairn pool had lasted all of two weeks before being painted over.

“Dogs swimming in the pools, and possibly pooing around the pools is problematic since the water only flushes at high tide, leaving the possibility for water contamination very high,” she
said.

The pools were designed to be safe places for children to swim, and having dogs and small children together in small spaces was a recipe for trouble, she
said.

Glencairn Beach (next to the pool) is a dog zone where people can take their dogs onto the beach to run, swim and be boisterous dogs to their heart’s con-
tent.

“Unfortunately this is hard to police, and informing dog
owners that they are not allowed dogs at the pools can lead to
awkward situations,” Ms Beasely said.

She suggested anyone encountering recalcitrant dog owners contact Fish Hoek law enforcement at 021 400 3904.