Durban – An eight-year-old boy has been mauled to death by a pit bull at his home on Bloemfontein at the weekend. The dog belonged to the boy's neighbour, police said.
The boy had been playing in his yard in Vista Park when the dog allegedly jumped over the fence and attacked him.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thabo Covane said the dog escaped from its enclosure and got into the yard where the boy was.
Covane said the child had been playing alone outside. He said the dog bit the boy on the neck and chest.
“Police and paramedics were summoned to the scene, and the boy was declared dead on the scene,” Covane said.
Police opened an inquest docket and the dog was put down.
The Bloemfontein SPCA said the neighbour's two other dogs had been removed and were in the care of the SPCA for safekeeping.
“The Bloemfontein SPCA sends its utmost condolences to the child’s family and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. The loss of a child is something that no parent, family member or friend has to endure, and all the loved ones have our utmost sympathy,” the organisation said in a post.
The SPCA pleaded with pet owners to surrender dogs that could be a danger to the community or family.
“The Bloemfontein SPCA will also make collection services available to any owner that does not have the means to take aggressive animals to the SPCA directly. The loss of life, any life, is tragic and in a preventive measure, we would like to plead with the public that aggressive animals should be surrendered to the Bloemfontein society so that similar incidents do not occur and that even at the end of an aggressive animal’s life it is treated with dignity and respect,” the organisation said.
In September, 10-year-old Storm Nuke was mauled by two pit bulls in Gqeberha's Gelvandale area.
Police said the boy and two other children were playing when the dogs attacked the youngster. An inquest docket was opened and the dogs were put down.
Last month, the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation launched a petition calling for the banning of the breed.
“Following years of vicious attacks on innocent citizens, including young children, the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation has called for the immediate ban of pit bulls,” the foundation said.
It added that Russia, Finland, Denmark, the UK, Portugal, and parts of Germany, China, Brazil and Australia, were just some of the places that had banned the breed.
Commenting on the latest attack, the foundation said the death could have been prevented.
“This is the latest attack by the breed which continues to maul to death people, especially innocent children. The bit bull was killed by the community but it was already too late to save the child. Such unnecessary deaths can be prevented by banning the breed which does not deserve to be classified as a domestic pet based on statistics of how it attacks and kills people, without provocation,” the foundation said.
It urged people to sign its petition that will be presented to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza with the hope thatthe national government will heed the call to protect and save lives by imposing a ban on the breed.