The owner of two pit bulls responsible for mauling a three-year-old child to death in the Free State has been charged and granted bail.
The dogs, belonging to 21-year-old Lebohang Pali, attacked and killed Keketso Saul on Sunday.
Pali was arrested on Monday morning, and was charged with keeping dangerous dogs, in accordance with the Animals Amendment Act, OFM News reported.
He was granted R300 bail, and will appear in court again on Wednesday morning.
Community members livid
Provincial police spokesperson Stephen Thakeng told OFM News that Pali was rescued by authorities from a group of angry residents from Sekoti Mpate Phomolong in Hennenman, who wanted to attack him.
One of Pali’s pit bulls was burned to death by incensed community members, while the other was confiscated by the SPCA.
Mangaung metro deputy mayor Mapaseka Nkoane-Mothibi said as of January 2023, the city will require the owners of “any dog” to have a licence to own them, and to be educated in some form of training.
This commitment was made during the funeral of 8-year-old Olebogeng Mosime, who was playing in a neighbour’s yard when he was mauled to death by an escaped pit bull.
Mosime was found dead when emergency services arrived at the scene in the Vista Park area in Bloemfontein.
The pit bull was still in the yard, covered in blood. An emergency response officer shot the dog multiple times before it died.
Since the mauling of Mosime, Bloemfontein residents have handed over more than 49 pit bulls to the SPCA.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA reported at least two incidents of dogs being set alight in one weekend, after three pit bulls were attacked by Gatesville and Athlone community members.
The dogs were stabbed, stoned and burnt, after they attacked and severely injured a young girl last weekend.
Chief inspector of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Jaco Pieterse said it was tragic that a child was harmed, and called for responsible pet ownership.
“No dog should be roaming the streets. Responsible pet owners should ensure their animals are kept within their properties. If your home is not adequately fenced, don’t get a dog,” Pieterse said.
Petition to promote responsible ownership
Last month, a petition was launched by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation to ban the ownership of pit bulls, in a bid to prevent further attacks and deaths.
This was spurred on by the mauling to death of 10-year-old Storm Nuku by two pit bulls at his home in Gelvandale, Gqeberha in September.
Both dogs were shot dead by police, but Storm succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.
The petition was endorsed by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), in light of its goal to protect human and animal lives by promoting responsible ownership.
The petition is also calling for stronger regulations when owning a pit bull, by asking that permits be handed out to prospective owners.
The foundation’s petition wants Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza to intervene when it comes to keeping pit bulls as pets.
Pit bulls are known as power breeds, and require specific handling.
Despite this, they are often owned by people who abuse them, and are trained to be aggressive.
The Bloemfontein SPCA urged people to look for the following typical signs of aggression in any dog:
- Tail is low;
- Ears are folded back;
- Teeth are bared; and
- The dog is walking slowly.
Compiled and edited by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Kgomotso Phooko.