The Cape of Good Hope SPCA and the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement: Animal Control Unit have removed two husky dogs from a residential property in Simon’s Town following the killing of approximately 19 African penguins by the off-leash dogs over the weekend.
The African penguin is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Wildlife Department was alerted to the discovery of dead and dying penguins on Seaforth Beach by a jogger in the early hours of 28 October 2022. It was subsequently confirmed by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) that the birds’ deaths appeared to be caused by dog bites.
The SPCA is in possession of an affidavit from an eyewitness who witnessed the incident. It was reported that two husky-type dogs were seen at Seaforth beach attacking various penguins. The eyewitness approached the dogs to try and stop them, but the dogs ran off. The eyewitness tried to follow the dogs but lost sight of them, and when he returned to the beach to assist the penguins, the dogs were back again, attacking the penguins. The eyewitness ran after the dogs and traced them to their home. The matter was then reported to the authorities.
“The SPCA will ensure that justice is served for these penguins, who suffered a traumatic death because of irresponsible dog owners. We don’t believe that the dogs are to blame, but will hold their irresponsible owners accountable,” said Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse.
Seaforth Beach is a prominent nesting site for around 150 endangered African penguins and is on the border of Boulders Beach – the world-famous African penguin breeding colony.
Numerous signs at the beach and in the parking lot warn visitors that off-leash dogs are not allowed.
Letting dogs to run off-leash in a public space is a contravention of the City of Cape Town Animal Keeping By-law and should be reported to Law Enforcement on 021 480 7700.