Dog at­tack cau­ses fe­ar

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - S­te­fan Goo­sen

The char­ge of as­sault with in­ten­ti­on to com­mit grie­vous bo­di­ly harm a­gainst the o­w­ner of a pair of pit bulls who at­tac­ked an 11-y­e­ar-old boy in Jood­se­kamp, Knys­na has been chan­ged to at­temp­ted mur­der.

On Wed­nes­day 28 March, a week af­ter the in­ci­dent, Knys­na po­li­ce spo­kes­per­son Ser­ge­ant Chris Spies said the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to the ci­r­cum­stan­ces sur­roun­ding the at­tack on T­he­ha­no Da­man on Wed­nes­day 21 March in M­bo­bo Street was still at a very e­ar­ly sta­ge.

Alt­hough the po­li­ce we­re as­ked to ex­plain why the char­ge has chan­ged to at­temp­ted mur­der, no ans­wer has as yet been re­cei­ved.

Be­gin­ning of a nig­ht­ma­re

Ac­cor­ding to T­he­ha­no’s mot­her Me­lo­nie Da­man, her son was on his way to so­me f­riends on the day w­hen the two pit bulls sud­den­ly ca­me out of so­me bus­hes ne­ar­by and at­tac­ked him so se­ver­e­ly that chunks of flesh we­re torn from his legs.

Ac­cor­ding to Knys­na A­ni­mal Wel­fa­re So­cie­ty (KAWS) ge­ne­ral ma­na­ger An­ne­lien Kit­ley the dogs we­re im­me­di­a­te­ly put do­wn af­ter the o­w­ner of the dogs tur­ned them o­ver.

“The o­w­ner ca­me in on his own. I ex­plai­ned the si­tu­a­ti­on to him and he un­der­stood the dogs had to be put do­wn. KAWS can on­ly do this upon in­structi­on from mu­ni­ci­pal law en­for­ce­ment and the o­w­ner’s con­sent,” she said.

Mul­ti­ple sur­ge­ries al­re­a­dy

Sin­ce the at­tack, T­he­ha­no has un­der­go­ne six dif­fe­rent pro­ce­du­res – three at Ge­or­ge Hos­pi­tal and three mo­re at the Red Cross War Me­mo­ri­al Child­ren’s Hos­pi­tal in Ca­pe To­wn, and doc­tors are still st­rug­gling to cul­ti­va­te e­nough skin from el­se­w­he­re on his bo­dy to co­ver the in­ju­ries he sus­tai­ned in the at­tack.

He is cur­rent­ly re­co­ve­ring and a­wai­ting furt­her sur­ge­ry at the Red Cross hos­pi­tal.

“The doc­tor said T­he­ha­no will be un­der­going a skin graft o­pe­ra­ti­on next week. My poor child is still in a lot of pain, but he feels strong,” she said.

Da­man al­so ex­pres­sed her gra­ti­tu­de to “e­very per­son” who has been praying for her son.

Boy’s sa­vi­our re­calls hor­ri­fic day

A man who as­sis­ted T­he­ha­no and pos­si­bly sa­ved the boy’s li­fe, F­red­die So­lo­mon, told Knys­na-P­lett He­rald that on the day of the at­tack he he­ard so­meo­ne scre­am in hor­ror in the street, and im­me­di­a­te­ly ran out of his hou­se to see w­hat was going on.

“I saw the dogs at­tacking him and drag­ging the boy to­wards a field. I pic­ked up a stick and cal­led out to a friend who ca­me out to help.

The dogs didn’t e­ven flinch and we knew we nee­ded so­mething bet­ter than sticks to fig­ht them off. I e­ven­tu­al­ly found a spa­de and cha­sed them off, but t­hey ca­me back for the boy,” said So­lo­mon, cle­ar­ly still very dis­tur­bed by w­hat he had wit­nes­sed. “I’ve ne­ver seen a­ny­thing li­ke this be­fo­re,” he ad­ded.

‘I can still he­ar him scre­a­ming’

So­lo­mon said that w­hen the dogs ca­me for T­he­ha­no a­gain, the men had to put all fe­ar a­si­de as the boy’s li­fe de­pen­ded on it. “I can still he­ar the boy scre­a­ming in pain, ‘I am dying’,” So­lo­mon ad­ded. The in­ci­dent has roc­ked the com­mu­ni­ty of Knys­na to its co­re. On Tu­es­day 3 A­pril a victim of a pre­vi­ous bru­tal dog at­tack ca­me to the KPH of­fi­ces ex­tre­me­ly up­set, in te­ars and saying how guil­ty she feels o­ver w­hat hap­pe­ned to T­he­ha­no.

Mo­re co­me for­ward

Fraai­sig re­si­dent Me­gan Fran­cis feels she could ha­ve so­mehow stop­ped w­hat had hap­pe­ned to the young boy – alt­hough the at­tack on him was in a dif­fe­rent a­rea and did not in­vol­ve the sa­me dogs. Fran­cis is still see­king jus­ti­ce af­ter she was “vi­ci­ous­ly” at­tac­ked on the mor­ning of Thursday 26 Oc­to­ber 2017.

W­hat is e­ven wor­se, she says, is that the dog that at­tac­ked her is still in the a­rea and that she was not the first to ha­ve been at­tac­ked by it.

‘We li­ve in fe­ar’

“Com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers li­ve in fe­ar,” she says. The o­w­ner’s wi­fe paid for Fran­cis’ i­ni­ti­al me­di­cal bills but has ig­no­red her e­ver sin­ce, and the o­w­ner him­self has been no­thing but ag­gres­si­ve af­ter­wards, she says, and has bloc­ked her pho­ne num­ber.

Sin­ce the in­ci­dent, Fran­cis says she has re­cur­ring nig­ht­ma­res. “I d­re­am that the dog runs past e­ver­yo­ne, tar­ge­ting me or my child­ren. I Goog­led pit bulls and saw so­me ter­ri­ble t­hings. It would ma­ke me feel e­ven wor­se if no­thing hap­pens to this dog,” she says.

Fran­cis wants aut­ho­ri­ties to act and dog o­w­ners to be mo­re re­spon­si­ble.

Pho­tos: Sup­p­lied

The wound on T­he­ha­no Da­man’s fa­ce is get­ting bet­ter e­very day, says his mot­her Me­lo­nie Da­man.

T­he­ha­no Da­man (11) is re­cu­pe­ra­ting and a­wai­ting mo­re o­pe­ra­ti­ons at he Red Cross War Me­mo­ri­al Child­ren’s Hos­pi­tal in Ca­pe To­wn.

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