ROAMING cattle have become a headache for Nelson Mandela Bay residents, who have had to clean up after the herbivores and drive erratically to avoid colliding with them.
Areas affected include Booysen Park, Missionvale and Heath Park, Walmer and township areas such as Motherwell.
Residents accuse the municipality of having no control over the burgeoning problem.
In the city’s northern areas, cattle roam the streets on a daily basis, invading and ruining residents’ gardens and causing traffic jams.
Cattle have also been causing major damage to graves and tombstones at the Bloemendal cemetery. Bloemendal resident Stan Langford said residents who left their gates open often found cattle in their yards.
"These animals have already caused serious accidents. Cars have to stop or give way for them when they are in the streets,” he said.
Another resident, Chrissie Shaw, said residents had to be cautious as they never knew when the animals might attack.
"They sometimes sleep behind one of the primary schools at night. This poses a safety risk to pupils and adults alike,” she said.
Heath Park resident Irma Rademeyer said she had witnessed the chaotic situation of a frantic cow having lost its herd.
"This is beyond dangerous. They run wild, kicking their hind legs, spinning uncontrollably in a display of natural instinct.
"Once a taxi had to switch off all its lights and stop in the road to prevent a cow from becoming more bewildered.
"Are we just expected to accept this display of caveman-like living, or do we wait for that unforeseen tragedy to strike before something is done? It is disturbing that such a display is even allowed.”
At the Bloemendal cemetery, trampled graves and broken tombstones bear testimony to the damage caused by stray cattle.
When The Herald visited the cemetery yesterday a herd of cattle grazed freely. One cow butted its head against a tombstone.
Walmer businessman Mark Barwick, who owns Glendore Arms Pub in Victoria Road, said the unattended cows were a nuisance.
"It is worse in this area because there are no lights and as a result we have had a lot of accidents because of these cows. It’s time that the municipality did something about them.
"I have had a number of complaints from my customers about these cows scratching their cars.”
Sardinia Bay Road resident Karen Biddulph agreed.
"I am always driving here and there are always cows which are unattended crossing the road. These cows should be kept in the kraal before they claim people’s lives,” she said.
In Wells Estate, Motherwell taxi drivers said they, too, were battling with stray cattle.
Mbali Rhamncwana, a taxi driver, said the cows "were all over the place”.
"They put people’s lives at risk because, as drivers, we don’t expect to see cows because this is not a farm.
"In the past we have seen a lot of accidents caused by cows which are left to cross the streets on their own,” he said.
Beverley Rademeyer of the Animal Anti Cruelty League said free-roaming cattle was a "huge” problem.
"There should be a log of all the cattle owners in the different areas of the city. Some herders have more than 100 cattle at a time,” she said.
"It would help if these cattle had demarcated areas where they could sleep at night.”
Municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said the municipality had a department dedicated to dealing with the problem.
"There is a 24-hour number residents can phone to report these problems. We do work closely with Animal Welfare to curb the problem,” he said.
Residents who want to report stray animals can call
Calls are free from Telkom lines.