Dog owner is mentally ill - lawyer
Johannesburg - The owner of a dog that died after being left in a car at OR Tambo Airport was mentally ill and could not be held accountable for her actions, her lawyers said on Monday.
The unidentified woman was completely unaware of her actions at the time of leaving the country and was institutionalised soon after, attorney Bongani Dlodlo said in a statement.
"She was shocked to discover that her pet Chutney had died," he said.
Chutney was apparently left in the airport's parking in Johannesburg at the start of December when its owner flew overseas.
Airport officials found Chutney's badly decomposed body in the first week of January. A case of neglect was opened by the Airports Company of SA (Acsa) at the airport's police station.
"Questions still remain as to why Chutney's body was only discovered a month after its owner left the country", attorney Christopher Gibson said.
Dlodlo said his client was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of her departure and was subsequently institutionalised for six months in both Norway and the United Kingdom.
"She is currently on medication and in a stable state of mind... she returned to South Africa this morning and is staying with relatives."
Her lawyers were negotiating the release of her car with Acsa, who were demanding payment of more than R24 000 for parking.
"We will speak to the investigating officer and go from there," Dlodlo said.
Acsa was expected to comment later on Monday.