‘Madam’ not much of a lady

2009-06-09 00:00

A HILTON man is recovering after he was attacked and bitten in the groin by a female potbellied pig while taking a stroll after lunch at Hebron Haven Hotel, near Howick.

Robert McLelland said he and his wife went to the hotel to have a nostalgic lunch on Sunday, March 29.

“After having lunch, we took a walk down to the river. While we were walking, we noticed that there was a potbellied pig following us,” he said.

As they were getting closer to the river, they saw that the pig was about two metres away.

“My wife told me she did not like how it was reacting. I assumed that it was a pet, and that it was used to people as a lot of children go to the area,” he said.

He turned around and tried to get the pig to leave them alone. That is when it attacked him, he said.

“This pig, weighing about 250 kg, flew at me,” he said. “The speed that it came at me was amazing.”

He said it hit him on his knee with its hooves and bit him in the groin.

“It punctured my scrotum and foreskin, and injured my thigh,” he said.

He said he believes the zip on his jeans saved him from worse injury.

As he lay on the ground, unaware of his injuries, McLelland said he was worried the pig would attack him again, and go for his wife. “I decided to get up and run,” he said. “I jumped into the river as I knew it would not come in after me.”

When they arrived back at the hotel, McLelland said he told the owner what had just happened.

“He told us the pig had never acted in such a manner before,” he said.

“I demanded proof from a vet that it had been inoculated and did not have rabies.”

When the owner went to take a look at the pig, it reportedly tried to attack him as well. “He told us it was acting strangely,” McLelland said.

The pig is believed to have been imported from Malaysia.

McLelland then had to be driven to Howick Hospital by his wife. “The owner of the hotel did not even offer or organise transport for me to be taken to hospital,” he said.

The cost of McLelland’s medication, which included rabies medication and antibiotics, came to about R3 700.

“Two weeks after the incident, I called the hotel and discussed the costs with the owner,” said McLelland. “He gave me the impression that he would take care of them.”

A week later, McLelland said he got a letter from Hebron Haven Hotel and a cheque for R900.

“My lawyer was annoyed that the letter had been written in an arrogant tone,” he said.

He said he is taking legal action against the hotel.

“We are suing for the costs, and the pain and suffering we experienced,” he said. “I am not suing to get rich,” said McLelland. “If the pig can knock down a grown man like me, imagine what it would do to a child.”

The owner of Hebron Haven Hotel, Rudolf Pollabauer, said he found it very strange that McLelland had approached The Witness after he had already constituted legal action against their insurers.

“They [McLelland and his attorney] continue to threaten us, remaining aloof to the legal processes,” he said.

“Possibly, he wants the papers to aid him in his claim to having his underwear, which was damaged in the alleged incident, repaired.

“McLelland is also aware that Madam, the accused in the alleged incident, was removed from our premises the following Tuesday,” he said.

Pollabauer said that McLelland was also aware that he provoked Madam by trying to shoo and chase her away.

 

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