In line with the City of Cape Town’s Animal Bylaw 2010, pet owners are required to register all dogs and cats kept on their property.
There are maximum numbers of pets allowable depending on the size of the dwelling/property. The prescribed numbers are as follows:
Type of Property
Size of Property
Maximum Number of Dogs/Cats
Two Dogs / Four Cats
Less than 600 sq m erf
Three Dogs / Four Cats
Large Dwelling House
More than 600 sq m erf
Four Dogs / Four Cats
Land zoned for Agricultural use
Six Dogs / Six Cats
Should more than the maximum number of pets be kept on a property prescribed by the bylaw, the owner must apply for a specific permit to keep them. This permit application process commenced on 1 March 2012 and ends on 30 August 2012.
Owners can make use of two application options: via e-mail or manually via printed forms.
- Electronic forms can be downloaded from the City’s website or requested from the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Printed forms can be obtained from any City Law Enforcement Office or local Public Library.
- Online. This can also be reached by clicking on the pet registration link under ‘Campaigns and Programmes’ on the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za
Completed forms can either be submitted by e-mail or handed in at the office from which the form was obtained.
Pet owners will not be charged for registering their pets as the City wants to encourage owners to register their pets.
The application for permission to own additional pets will run simultaneously to the registration period.
Through the registration process, using the same form, owners have the option to:
- register their pets if they do not exceed the current prescribed numbers
- or register and apply for a permit (if the pet owner has more dogs/cats exceeding the prescribed number).
Applicants are encouraged to use the online registration as this will prevent errors in data capturing and will also allow for an immediate e-mail to the applicant which will serve as proof of registration.
Please see below a list of Frequently Asked Questions to assist pet owners during the registration process.
Why do I need to register my pets?
It is a requirement of the Animal Bylaw 2010.
It will allow the City to manage the rehoming of lost animals more effectively.
It will also assist in developing accurate information on the domestic pet animal population in the city with information about the type, breed and other statistics which will aid in the animal welfare planning and budgeting.
Why is there a limit on the number of pets I am allowed to keep?
A Public Participation Process made the determination considering issues such as the ability for people to care for animals per category coupled with health concerns and concerns for the proper care of domestic animals.
The current bylaw is a consolidation of the former 11 bylaws across the city which all, with the exception of one, permitted only two dogs per property. After public participation, the current bylaw relaxed this to three dogs per household (four for a larger property and six for an agricultural property) while limiting the number of dogs to a flat or apartment to two. This is in addition to the number of cats permitted.
Owners can also apply to keep extra animals - this request will never be unreasonably denied– the measure is in place to prevent environments that are abusive or unhealthy for the animal.
How do I register my pets?
Owners must fill in the “Application Form for Registration and/or Application to have more Animals than Permitted” form. Currently there are three ways to obtain and submit this form:
- Electronic forms can be downloaded from the City’s Website or requested from email@example.com Completed forms can be e-mailed back to the same e-mail address.
- Printed forms can be obtained from any City Law Enforcement Office or local Public Library. Completed forms can be handed in at the office where the form was obtained.
Can I use just the one form to register all my pets at the same time?
Yes, there is space on the form to register more than one pet at a time.
My cat/dog has a collar with a tag on it – is this enough?
Owners are required by the bylaw to identify their pets either by means of a collar and tag, or microchip or both. However this is not a substitute for registering of pets and this must still be done.
What are the penalties for unregistered pets?
Owners of unregistered pets will be issued a compliance notice, and a fine of R300. Failure to adhere will lead to any unregistered animals being confiscated and impounded under the Animal Bylaw.
Is there a fee to pay when registering pets?
If I move and take my pets with me do I have to re-register them?
Please update your details. This can be done by simply filling out the form on the website again, which will automatically update your details. Alternatively you can request a Details Change Form from firstname.lastname@example.org or obtain such form from any Law Enforcement Office.
How long do I have to register an animal after acquiring a new pet?
All new pets must be registered within four months of the pet’s birth or within 30 days of acquiring a pet on a property.
Is it only cats and dogs that must be registered? What about other pets, such as rabbits, ducks, guinea pigs, parrots, fish, swans etc?
According to Section 23 of Animal Bylaw 2010 owners of pets other than cats or dogs should enquire from the City’s Health Directorate on the need for a permit regarding such animals.
The numbers indicated are for dogs or cats. Does this mean I can either have the maximum number of dogs or the maximum number of cats, or am I allowed to have both? For example if I live in a flat am I allowed two dogs and four cats maximum, or am I only allowed two dogs, or only allowed four cats maximum?
Pet owners are allowed both cats and dogs, however, they are not permitted to own more than the maximum allowed limit for each, depending on the size of their dwelling.
If I see someone with more than the allowable number of dogs and/or cats can I report them? If so, how do I do this?
Such matters can be reported to the Animal Control Unit on 0800 225 669 or through an e-mail to email@example.com
What if I have more than the maximum allowable number of cats or dogs and my permit to keep them is denied?
You will be given a period of 21 days to rehome some of the pets to ensure that you comply with the maximum number of pets allowable for your dwelling type. However, unless there is a substantial reason or proof of cruelty or abuse, a permit is unlikely to be withheld.
For what reason would a permit to keep more pets than the maximum allowable number be refused?
- If it exceeds the number of animals allowed
- If Animal Control Inspector (after property inspection) states concerns such as health, care etc.
- In the event of a prior conviction for cruelty or abuse of animals or in the case of persistent legitimate complaints from neigbours.
- The Subcouncil (body to authorise) might consider community input into permits