Dog attack causes fear
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.
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.