Owners of cattle that stray into the Ondangwa town boundaries need to act swiftly if they are to avoid stock losses, because the municipal pound where the seized livestock are kept does not have any grazing.
Losses in terms of cattle death are in certain cases the result, especially if the owner of a stray animal is unaware that it has been impounded for grazing in the wrong place.
The rains that fell widely in many parts of the country over the past week seem not to have improved the grazing situation significantly and as a result several cattle – especially those from villages and settlements around Ondangwa – continue to stray into town in search of grazing.
When this reporter visited the municipal pound on Sunday afternoon the place was teaming with cattle that seem to have been there for more than three days.
All were in good condition, but hungry and there was no sign that they have been given any fodder.
Spokesperson for Ondangwa Town Council Petrina Shitalangaho acknowledged that the cattle might not have been fed, because of the weekend break.
She said provision is usually made to feed them until they are collected by the owners, upon payment of the required fine.
“We charge owners N$24 per large livestock (cattle) and N$10 per calf when the owner comes to collect the animals. And for a pig an owner has to pay N$101, because these are dangerous animals,” Shitalangaho emphasised.
She said whenever the town council has impounded cattle, officials would take the number from the ear tags and inform the owners of the whereabouts of their animals, adding that most owners act swiftly to collect their animals.
One cattle owner from Indangungu village, located about 10 kilometres north of Ondangwa, was surprised to find his missing cattle at the municipal pound.
“I sent my boys to look for the animals over the past three days without any positive result, thus on Sunday I joined the search by car, driving along the railway line to see if I could find them, but to no avail.
“I kept on driving in the areas closer to our village and when this did not bear any results I decided to visit the pound and to my surprise all the cattle that were missing have been impounded,” said the farmer from Indangungu.
Owners of cattle closer to Ondangwa also face a challenge, because their animals keep on landing up in the pound almost on a monthly basis and they have to fork out a lot of money per head of cattle.
If they fail to pay the animals might starve, as they are apparently not given any or sufficient fodder. It is understood that some of the cattle found in town come from as far away as the Okaku Constituency.