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General News of Monday, 24 June 2019

Source: Class FM

Court fines stray cattle owners, squatters

A sanitation court in Accra has fined two cattle owners GH960 each, equivalent to 80 penalty units, for allowing their herd to stray and causing traffic and posing danger to motorists in the metropolis.

The two, Issah Oblikwei, 58; and Rafik Tagoe, 40; were also ordered by the court presided over by Her Worship Juliana Osei to relocate their cattle from the Jamestown slaughter slum opposite the Fire Academy and Training School (FATS) on the Cleland road in Accra within three months.

According to the Prosecuting Officer, Nii Okai Aryee of the Public Health Department of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the herdsmen were arrested by the Assembly's Environmental Health Officers during their routine inspection within the metropolis on Tuesday, 19 June 2019 when they spotted 21 stray cattle along the Korle Bu main road.

The court also fined Kamal Alhassan, a squatter, GHS240 for building at an unauthorised location after he pleaded guilty. He was given a three-month ultimatum to demolish the structures located at Adedenkpo in Accra.

Three other squatters, Mary Odurowaa, 36; Richard Yaaba, 40; and Jacob Norgbegi, 50; who all pleaded not guilty, were granted bail of GHS1,500 each.

All four squatters were arrested following the issuance of a bench warrant by the court.

Florence Kuukyi, the Head of the AMA Public Health Department, in an interview, said stray cattle are a serious nuisance to motorists and pedestrians.

She said under the Assembly's 2017 by-laws, “it is an offence for cattle owners to bring their cattle to the residential areas and the streets", adding that the law mandates the owners to confine their kraals outside residential and other unauthorised areas.

She explained that it is prohibited for a person to keep swine, cattle, sheep, goats and other wildlife in any town or community in the area of authority of the Assembly, without a permit issued by the Assembly for that purpose.

“Notwithstanding the above provisions, a person may keep animals within the area of authority of the Assembly for the purpose of domestic, religious, commercial or customary purpose if that person ensures that the animal is kept in a well-maintained pen/kraal and always kept clean”, she added.

She mentioned that in the case of large numbers of cattle, the owners must abide by the stipulated sanitary conditions put in place by the Environmental Health Department (EPA) and other relevant agencies such as restricting the herd to a well-defined grazing area, reducing stench and noise and ensuring regular checkups by certified veterinary officers.

She disclosed that in the case of goats and sheep, the number to be kept in any "dwelling house" shall not exceed 10 and admonished all citizens to be law-abiding.

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