The Herald, 16 September 1986
FOR two years now, a resident of Hatfield has kept three cattle in her fenced backyard with virtually no grazing, it was found yesterday.
When The Herald visited the house, the three cattle were closed in on a small portion of land with very little grass.
Neighbours said the cattle have been there for the past two years. They are now terribly thin.
There is an obnoxious smell of dung as one approaches the house.
The assistant Harare municipal chief health inspector Mr Paul Grace, said his department had not given the owner permission to keep cattle in her backyard.
“If a person keeps livestock in his or her backyard, he requires permission from the medical officer of health and as far as I know we have not given permission to this particular landlord,” he said.
He said the health inspector for Hatfield was surveying the whole area.
“That will take a little while, but we are going to serve notice to a number of people who are doing this type of thing.”
Mr Grace said, however it was difficult for the council to take action against such landlords because the council was not a law enforcing agent.
He said it was the police that had to investigate such incidents then council could only take action on police recommendations.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Under the Regional Town and Country Planning Act, it is illegal to keep cattle in a place “zoned residential”. It is therefore surprising to hear the assistant chief health inspector could not take action because they were not a law enforcement agent.
Hatfield suburb is the home of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Zimbabwe), but this householder kept underfed cattle for three years. What is their role?
Anyone wishing to keep livestock in a residential area has to seek permission from the City Health Department, but the department should ensure that the animals are kept in a humane way, and if not remove them and fine the owner.
Starving livestock is defined as cruelty to animals, which is an offence that attracts a fine in Zimbabwe.