File picture: Bertram Malgas
Durban – A 3-year-old Umlazi boy was mauled to death on Monday morning by two pit bulls. The family dogs that attacked Amukelani Bhengu while his mother looked on helplessly in their M Section home were later shot by the police.
The tragedy unfolded at about 9am when Amukelani and his mother tried to feed the animals.
It comes barely a month after a Pietermaritzburg woman was mauled to death by her own dogs, two rottweilers and a boerbul.
A day later an 89-year-old Phoenix grandfather survived after two pit bulls attacked him as he was about to enter his home.
At the scene on Monday – six hours after the attack – police grew increasingly agitated while they waited for pathologists. A morgue van arrived at the scene only after 3pm.
A neighbour said she was not at home when the incident happened but was in the same taxi travelling back to the township with the child’s grandmother when she heard the news.
“I was in the same taxi with someone who I believe is the child’s granny. She was constantly on the phone asking ‘Have the police arrived?’ and asking why the dogs hadn’t been shot.”
She said before she entered her home she heard frantic screams from next door.
Another neighbour said even though she was not close to the family, she understood that the child went to creche on the days when the mother was at work.
She said Amukelani’s father had emerged from the house distraught.
“I asked him what was going on and he said the dogs had attacked and killed his son,” she said.
Amukelani’s grandmother, Sylvia Shangase, said she was at work when she received the shocking call alerting her to the tragedy. From what she had established, the child’s mother and the child were about to feed the pit bulls when they latched on to Amukelani.
She said one of the dogs was about three years old, but she was uncertain about the second.
Police spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala confirmed the incident and said an inquest docket would be investigated by Umlazi police.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said: “Paramedics arrived at the residence and found the child lying on the kitchen floor with extensive injuries.
“However, reports indicate that the child was attacked in the garden and was then moved to the house by family members.”
He said the boy had died before they arrived at the scene.
Gawie Grobler of www.pit bullsa.co.za said the behaviour of a pit bull depended on the treatment it received from its owner.
“It all boils down to the respect (the dog receives). If there’s no respect, then the dog won’t show respect. They were not meant to bite. One of their qualities is their human-friendliness,” he said.
Grobler said he had pit bulls “and they don’t bite”. He also dispelled the notion that feeding time was a trigger for pit bull attacks.
“That’s nonsense,” he said. “You can feed the dog any time of the day you want, what matters is the discipline the dog receives.”
Facebook page Pitbull Diary KZN posted Botha’s statement on its page and received a flurry of …