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Family of slain toddler mauled by pit bulls barely coping, owner out on bail

Family of slain toddler mauled by pit bulls barely coping, owner out on bail

Cape Town – The family of the Free State toddler who was mauled to death by pit bulls on Sunday are struggling to cope after his horrific death, while the owner of the dogs was granted bail.

Three-year-old Keketso Innocent Saule was mauled by two pit bull terriers in Hennenman on Sunday morning.

According to the provincial police spokesperson, Captain Stephen Thakeng, officers were called out at 9.30am.

“On arrival at the scene, members found a large group of community members already outside the yard. The three-year-old toddler was certified dead at the scene with severe injuries to the head.

“The dog was removed by its owner from the scene where the incident took place, but eventually was burned to death by the angry community,” Thakeng said in a statement.

Speaking to News24, Keketso’s grandfather, Maitse Saule said the grandmother was not coping as she was the first to identify the little boy’s body after the horrific incident.

“From what I saw, the dogs mauled half his face and head. We could see parts of his brain after the attack,” he told the publication.

Saule said little Keketso’s friend who had witnessed the incident has been left traumatised.

The child who was with Keketso during the attack was rescued by a neighbour.

Saule told News24, the pit bulls did not belong to the property owner as they do not live in the area, instead, one of the current tenants was the owner of the dogs.

Keketso’s mother received her first counselling session on Monday. This was arranged by the local municipality.

The municipality also pledged to cover the funeral costs of the child, taking place on Sunday.

According to ward councillor Pheello Nthuba, the tenant who had the pit bulls at the time of the attack did not own them, but had them in their possession temporarily for breeding purposes, the publication reported.

Police have since opened an inquest into the incident and confirmed they arrested the owner of the dogs on Monday.

“An inquest case was registered for further investigation and there will be an additional charge under the Animals Amendment Act.

“A thorough investigation will be conducted regarding the circumstances which led to the two pit bulls killing the boy,” Thakeng said.

Lebohang Pali, 21, appeared in the Hennenman Magistrate’s Court where he was granted bail of R300.

He is expected to be back in court on Wednesday, November 23.

In a separate incident, in Cape Town residents of the Gatesville community publicly killed and set alight three pit bulls that attacked a young girl.

Last week, 49 pit bull owners handed over their dogs to the Bloemfontein SPCA.

robin.francke@inl.co.za

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