The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has urged pit bull owners to train their dogs, research their breed, and socialise their dogs at an early age to prevent aggression and attacks later on.
This after one-year-old Shanoor Isaacs was bitten on her leg by a pit bull named Bingo on Tuesday July 13. The animal has been put down by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.
Shanoor, who was 11-months-old at the time, was sitting on the couch in her home in Prunus Street, Bonteheuwel, when the pit bull came into the house and bit her leg, says her mother, Ghasna.
As the child’s grandmother, Elaine, picked her up and got her away from the dog, Bingo bit Elaine on her foot. Ghasna then called her brother, Deen Jones, to help, and the dog bit him on his leg.
“My mother hit the dog with a hammer on his head, and my brother wrestled him, but he wouldn’t let go. Eventually he did, and my brother fought with the dog outside,” said Ghasna.
Shanoor, Elaine, and Mr Jones, had all been rushed to Vanguard day hospital and treated for dog bites and discharged the same day, said Ghasna.
“He bit most people in the road already, but no one opened a case. The owner hasn’t been here. His son was walking the dog and made the dog loose on the corner, and that’s when he ran in,” said Ghasna.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie said that the dog attack was tragic and could have been avoided.
Dog owners should be held liable for incidents involving their pets as it was their responsibility to train them, he said.
“The owners must be held accountable and liable for the attack on these innocent people. The community is hugely frustrated, but more concerning is the little or no response from SAPS after charges were laid. This speaks to an even greater frustration which further erodes the relationship between SAPS and the community,” he said.
Provincial SAPS spokesman Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said Bishop Lavis police were investigating a case of assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm.
“The injured were transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment The suspect is known only by an alias and is yet to be arrested,” he said.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s spokeswoman, Belinda Abraham, said that Bingo had been put down at his owner’s request on Monday July 26. The community alleged there had been previous attacks, but the SPCA could not confirm that, she said.
“In this instance, the SPCA responded to a call received about an animal in distress. When our Inspector, Jeffery Mfini, arrived, he was met by a crowd of more than 100 community members armed with pangas and rocks ready to take the law into their own hands by killing Bingo who they described as ’evil’,” she said.
Ms Abraham said that while pit bulls were wonderful companions they came with a great deal of responsibility, something many owners failed to understand. Responsible pet ownership included understanding the needs of a specific breed, and being in control of your dog at all times.
“In short, these dogs are often failed by their owners. They need to be socialised from a very early age, they need basic obedience training using only positive reinforcement training methods, and owners need to spend quality time with them.”
The owner of the dog declined to comment.
Residents can report free-roaming aggressive animals by calling 107 from a cellphone or 021 480 7700 from a landline. Cruelty to animals can be reported by calling 021 700 4158/9.