If you own, use or train a performing animal you need a permit, that is renewable annually. And, performing animals include dogs being trained for security purposes.
As discussed in the Gauteng Smallholder Magazine, December 2019/January 2020 edition, this is the requirement of the Performing Animals Protection Act, No 24 of 1935, (Papa) which was recently amended (Act No 4 of 2016) to move the responsibility for working the act from animal protection organisations directly into the hands of the state in the form of the Dept of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries’ State Veterinary Health Directorate.
The act covers all animals which perform, or which are trained to carry out certain tasks, such as security dogs, search and rescue animals, sniffer dogs etc.
There are exceptions to who needs to comply with the act, however. Specifically excluded are dogs in training or use by the SAPS, military and prison authorities, as well as horses appearing at shows, gymkhanas and competitions. Also excluded are livestock exhibited at agricultural shows, and reptiles.
The act requires owners or trainers of stipulated animals to hold a permit, renewable annually, which must be produced on demand, which those affected complain will greatly increase the cost of training dogs.
A holder of a permit must detail how much training and experience he or she has with each species or breed being trained, as well as how much activity the animals will be required to undertake each week.
Moreover, the applicant for a permit must stipulate whether he or she has ever been convicted of animal cruelty in South Africa or elsewhere.
To obtain a permit, an owner or trainer must arrange a visit by a State Veterinarian or appointed official, who will inspect the animal, as well as its housing, feeding arrangements etc.
The permit application also requires the owner or trainer’s private veterinarian to certify that he or she will undertake regular visits, and that he or she will notify the State Vet of any suspicious mortalities, injuries or welfare problems to the animals at the facility.
The permit itself costs R430, and will increase on 1 April every year. The permit cost does not include the cost of the inspection by the State Vet.
There is an appeal process in the case of a permit being refused, which currently costs R4 402 per appeal.
Penalties for non-compliance, ie training, exhibiting or using an animal without a PAPA permit, run to 10% of the value of the animal with a minimum of R2 000.