St Helena Online

Tag: dogs

Stray pups found – police seek owner

Police have been trying to trace the owner of four puppies found by a member of the public on St Helena on 20 October 2012. No further details have been released.

Wandering dogs prompt ‘zero tolerance’ warning

Police report continuing problems with dogs being allowed to wander loose on St Helena.

Officers had to round up animals roaming in the airport development area at Longwood on 16 October 2012, and complaints have been made on other occasions.

Jeromy Cairns-Wicks, the community beat sergeant, has issued two releases this month warning of costly action against dog owners.

In the first, he said: “Stray dogs are again an increasing problem.

“Over the last few months, St. Paul’s and Half Tree Hollow areas have seen a positive improvement, with a number of dog owners being dealt with for allowing their dogs to wonder uncontrolled. We are now receiving complaints from residents in Bottom Wood and Longwood.

“The action the police will take with regard to straying dogs is a zero tolerance policy. In other words, if a dog is caught straying on public or private land it can be impounded.

“If the owner is identified and there is sufficient evidence for the offence, the owner will be prosecuted in court.”

In the latest release, he said the owners would have to pay for the cost of kenneling.

On 10 October, police also dealt with the owner of goats that had been found trespassing on private property in the Longwood area.

Stray goat fine set to be a thousand times bigger

Goat, black and white image
Picture by Windy Mayes

The penalty for allowing goats to stray on to government land on St Helena could rise to £250 – from a mere 25 pence.

That’s a thousand-fold increase.

The “more meaningful” maximum fine is being considered because of the damage goats do to the island’s fragile environment.

A committee has also advised that the penalty should be extended to cover sheep, which also roam free on St Helena.

At present, the fine can be imposed for each animal, for each day it is found roaming on Crown land.

The island’s executive council is also asked to change its law on dogs and cats so they can be included in the three-year census of animals, next due in November 2012.

Five sheep in a lane in the west of the island
Sheep must also stay on the straight and narrow

The fine for failing to provide details for the census could rise from £1 per animal to £100 per animal, if the recommendations are adopted. The penalty for not declaring cats and dogs would be the same.

Including cats in the census is seen as a way to judge the success of a neutering drive. Pets and feral cats are now known to be the worst killers of the island’s unique but endangered wirebird.

Unwanted animals have become a significant problem.

On Ascension, a campaign to eradicate feral cats has seen seabird numbers rise dramatically.

Goats have been blamed for ravaging much of St Helena’s landscape ever since they were introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th Century.

The depradation over following centuries was so bad that the historian Philip Gosse described them as “these horned and four-legged locusts”.

The internet writer John Grimshaw tells the story of The Great Wood Wall, built in the 18th Century to try to keep goats and swine from grubbing up the East India Company’s trees. It failed.

He quotes Alfred Russel Wallace, who wrote in 1880 that goats were “the greatest of all foes to trees, because they eat off the young seedlings, and thus prevent the natural restoration of the forest.”

The loss of trees has been blamed for reduced rainfall and soil erosion, which have badly affected crop-growing.

The changes to the Dogs and Cats Ordinance 2012 and the Agriculture & Livestock Improvement Ordinance 2012 have been recommended by the island’s Natural Resources, Development and Environment Committee

A government statement said: “The proposed change amends the current penalties into meaningful penalties.  The upgrading of penalty fees is likely to deter offences.”

Decline that led to wirebird breeding failures
Hold your nose: Viv dreams of seabird cities on Ascension

St Helena laws
The Great Wood Wall – John Grimshaw on the fight to control goats

Marley stays cool in the shades

Brown dog wearing white sunglasses sticks nose in shiny bowl of waterMarley’s the name and cool is the game. That’s Marley as in Bob, the music legend. Waggae music, I think they called it. I’m working on the dreadlocks: just gimme time.

Now it’s all very well these Saints wearing their underwear on the outside and running around with their feet strapped to planks of wood, but I’m here to tell you St Helena Day ain’t the big day of the year as far as us dogs is concerned.

Not compared with the Doggy Day Out, which must be twice as important as St Helena Day, because it happens twice as often. We jus’ had another one a couple of months back.

We have our silly sports too, but we run around strapped to something far sillier than a plank of wood:

Dog wearing sunglasses, tongue hanging out after drinking, slobberingWe’re strapped to people instead, on leads. And most of them are as daft as two planks of wood. Sometimes they let go, and then we just hang loose.

Doggy Days Out are not cool. They’re run by the St Helena SPCA, and they’re hot. But a dog’s gotta chill, and a shiny bowl of water only goes so far. Hence the shades. And the slobber.

Okay, maybe not the slobber.

(Pictures of Marley taken at Kingshurst Community Centre, reproduced by courtesy of Matt Joshua)

A political animal at Blue Hill?

St Helena Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Facebook)
Tiger speaks: confessions of the community centre cat