The Barking Bill


Dog owners in Nairobi be warned, your pooch may soon land you in trouble if their behaviour is not tamed. The Nairobi county government has enacted a law that will soon render dog keeping not only an arguably expensive affair but also a legally demanding one. The Dog Control and Welfare act 2015 seeks to crack down on vicious dogs as well as help protect the animals and improve their welfare, but just to what extent the law goes against owner’s and animal rights is the biggest question among stakeholders.

Dr. Kenneth W. Wameyo (BVM, MKVA)
HONORARY SECRETARY
Kenya Veterinary Association | Head Office, Veterinary Labs, Kabete | P.O Box 29089-00625, Kangemi, Nairobi, Kenya | Office: +254 (20) 8085685  | Mobile (O): +254 (727) 680022 | Mobile (P): +254 (722) 742541|Alternative Email: secretary@kenyavetassociation.com | http://www.kenyavetassociation.com/


There seems to be confusion borne out of a lot of messages being sent out without proper information.

In September 2015, the Nairobi City County published the Nairobi Dog Control and Welfare Bill. This was the original bill that had sections about controlling barking dogs. This bill was sent to stakeholders at extremely short notice.

After a discussion at a stakeholder’s meeting, some time was given for further input and consultation with a view of collecting and collating more views.

Some managed to send in their views, few of which were eventually taken into consideration. The clause on barking was altered and toned down a tiny bit.

The resultant draft was never brought back for public consultation (at least to the best of our knowledge).

That bill has somehow passed through the legislative process of the County assembly and was passed into law and gazetted to take effect from 22nd July 2016.

This is the law that is currently in force, The Dog Control and Welfare Act 2015. It mainly deals with dogs and cats (despite its name).

The Animal Welfare Bill, is a new bill by the County government to try and cover “all” domestic animals. When enacted and passed into law, it will repeal the Dog Control and Welfare Act 2015. In the clauses affecting dogs and cats, this bill has borrowed heavily from the Act it seeks to replace, including the part on barking. This Animal Welfare Bill is now at the consultative stage where all stakeholders are supposed to give their input to enrich the document. The new bill is no friendlier on barking and states:

“A person shall not allow, permit or cause a dog or cat to bark or scream or otherwise cry in a manner that disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of a person in the neighbourhood or vicinity of the place where the dog or cat is kept.”

The first consultative forum was on 8th September 2016. We now hope that after all the views and concerns raised have been taken into consideration and factored into the draft document, the draft will then be brought back to the stakeholders for further interrogation before getting a document that can be taken to the county assembly for debate and passing.

In conclusion, a good majority of Kenyans have not really taken advantage of the main constitution which places one of the highest consultative thresholds in the world as far as passing of matters related to public policy. This requirement is a must even for county governments.

Sadly, when notice is given for Stakeholder meetings, most people just ignore these until a new (by-)law comes into effect.

Granted, county governments often delay giving out the notices, giving stakeholders no time to read, understand and prepare their response.

We would like to suggest that it would be in the best interest of all if they could familiarize themselves with the Dog Control and Welfare Act then it would easier to make meaningful corrections to the Animal Welfare Bill because let’s face it, some form of order and responsibility is needed.

Perhaps the onus is also on vets, the Kennel Club, the KSPCA and other animal welfare groups as much as it is on the County government to educate the general population on these matters.

We hope that come the subsequent stakeholder meeting, we have received more constructive ideas to enrich the bill.

 

The Nairobi County Dog and Welfare Act has now become county law. This law among other issues raises serious questions on execution. The law say that “a person shall not keep a dog which barks, yelps, howls or whines for more than six accumulated minutes in an hours or more than three accumulated minutes in half an hour.” it goes ahead and says,” a person shall not keep or leave a bitch on heat in any public place which will permit a male dog to approach it without the owner’s consent” among other issues.

KVA as a major stakeholder was involved in this process, the question is, did they okay the Act? what was their contribution? If yes how will this law be implemented in the aspect of proofing beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law that the dog indeed barked, yelped, whined and howled for six minutes or will the County government import “barkometer” for this work and if yes where will they be installed. Again is this law not going against the fundamental animal welfare. Sometimes dogs’ barking is behavioural and an animal must be free to express natural behaviour.

 

Queereenuse Pacho Oluoch.
+254 728 969 069
Skype : quinuse.pacho1


A huge thank you to Dr. Chibeu and Dr. Cockar who helped clarify what is really going on!
The videos included in this article are what was published on our local television networks.



EAKC response to The Nairobi city county Dog control and Welfare bill

21/10/2015

Thank you for giving us a chance to respond on the issue of the Nairobi County Dog Control and Welfare Bill. We have contacted many of our members and supporters, ranging from single dog owners, to security companies, to professional dog breeders.

We think a good Dog Control and Welfare bill will go a long way to safeguard dogs in Nairobi. We have not had a chance to convene a meeting to discuss the issue officially as we only received your email on Monday.

There are private institutions and charities who are spending a lot of time and money to help control (spay and neuter) the dog population of Nairobi, which are “not” owned and will never be licensed at the proposed fee, however these dogs serve a purpose and should not be destroyed or impounded.

Below I would like to summarize the views given by the dog owners we have liaised with.

  1. Dogs are not “big money business”, they are kept for security, pleasure and work (security/ tracking/ herding). Owners can be individuals, companies and even small groups of kiosk owners.
    1. Who is this bill targeting? Will there be a difference in licensing
      1. dog breeders,
      2. security companies,
  • private dog owners on farms,
  1. private dog owners with gardens,
  2. private dog owners in flats
  3. Cooperative dog owners around Kiosks
  • Herders
  1. How do we recognize a dog breeder or back yard breeder from a puppy mill or negligent dog owner whose bitch is producing puppies without control.\

 

  1. The suggested fees are prohibitive to the success of this bill. Not one person questioned agreed with the suggested fees. It is far too high.
    1. The NCC Dog license cost 500/- in 2014, this fee was doubled in 2015, which caused a decrease in compliance.
    2. The Dog license also comes with hidden costs – Who will pay for the production and engraving of the tags.

Points which have been brought up for mention
Part II, 6 (1) Please stipulate the application process.

To be added
Part II, 6 (2) c) the possession, in the case of pedigree breeds of dogs, of an East African Kennel Club [EAKC] issued “Pet Passport” in which details of the dog, its microchip number and its owner are given, linked to a microchip database where the details in the passport are replicated as well as the dog’s current rabies vaccination status. The EAKC to advise the cost of and collect and keep the fees for each pet passport issued.

Part II, 6 (3) Working dogs are not only for visually impaired: this section should also cover Therapy dogs for PTSD/anxiety/depression, Autistic children and adults, Hearing impaired, disabled (helper dog), epileptic (warning dogs).

Part II, 8(1) (b) People do not have to divulge their personal information on a dog tag – if a dog is stolen issuing the thieves with personal information of this nature is a security threat, this also carries extra costs

To be added:
Part II, 8(1)
c) in the case of pedigree dogs, to also carry a microchip, implanted by a vet and registered with the EAKC, bearing an EAKC issued microchip certificate to that effect.

Part II, 8(4)
(a) This section refers to (Fox) Hunting hounds. We do not have “Hounds” of this nature which should be exempted in Kenya.
(c)(iii) what happens when these dogs go to a home after herding?

Part II, 9(1) please stipulate particulars to be kept

Part II, 9(2) sentence incomplete

Part II, 9(3) to paragraph 9
The EAKC will maintain a register of microchipped animals and make that register available for searching by the Department and other approved users.

Part III, 13 (e)
This section a worry for many dog owners, can we ask a bird not to sing or a baby not to cry?

Although it is wonderful to be able to do something about dogs being neglected to bark unattended in apartments all day, will we have City County askari’s standing outside the property of G4S Security Dog Section fining them 5000/- every 6 minutes?
We feel it is very important that it is specifically stipulated that the barking mentioned has to be a public nuisance, ie that the complaint must be brought to the attention of the authorities in an official letter signed by no less than 2 physical neighbors (avoid neighbor disputes) who are both being disturbed by the barking to an extent that it is harming them physically or mentally with hard evidence (ie. School reports showing that children started to fail when new (nuisance) dogs  are introduced to an area, due to sleep deprivation),
The complaint can not be filed by a passing police officer or NCC Askari who decides to prosecute a resident.

Part III, 13 (g) (v) security dogs ?

Part III, 13 (h) excellent point

Part IV, 17(1) the 4 day timeframe is too fast in Nairobi. It may take people time to find their dog.

Part IV, 17(2) a dog seized is brought to the pound? The OWNER is to be notified within 12 hours? If the owner can not be contacted what happens?

Part IV, 17(3) if the owner of “such dog” has a valid license which may have been stolen or removed of the dog at any point prior or during capture, there should be NO FINE.

Part IV, 18(2) see 17(2)

Part IV, 18(3) & (4) Why is there a difference in fees for a bitch or dog? A Dog can cause the production of more illegitimate offspring in 1 night than a bitch, and there is no mention of a castrated dog?

—  HOW WILL DOG OWNERS BE NOTIFIED WHEN A DOG IS SEIZED?

Part IV, 19

1) Dogs to be destroyed after 4 days – too fast

Contradicts:

3) Dogs to be claimed prior to 11 days, may be sold, given away or destroyed

  • Dogs may not be SOLD by the dog pound – this is not a business for profit.V

 

Part IV, 20 this section is unclear and includes persecution for a offence presumed to be about to be committed.

Part IV, 21(1)a) it would be good to add that the government with work in collaboration with the private sector – KSPCA, East Africa Kennel Club and TNR etc. Who have been fulfilling this role for years.

Part V, 35 (1) minus fees paid

Page 20 – 1st word is misspelled – education