Dog owner is mentally ill - lawyer

2011-06-13 15:47

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.

  • DarkAgeCrusader - 2011-06-13 15:53

    Scary to think she was driving around!

      Jacques - 2011-06-13 16:37

      Pets name was Chutney - Before or after the poor thing died???

      Mnr. Smith - 2011-06-13 16:58

      sane enough to drive, eish. I'm also mentally ill, allow me to lock her in a car please.

      castle lager - 2011-06-13 19:21

      maybe MRS BALLS' CHUTNEY!!!!!!!!!

      Tigra - 2011-06-14 08:02

      My goodness people. Obviously very few of you know anything about mental illness. This woman was HOSPITALIZED for her condition. i.e. She isn't FAKING. A mentally ill person who is stable on medication CAN drive. I agree that she shouldn't have been driving in her condition BUT exactly because she was unstable, she wouldn't have been able to judge objectively whether she should be driving or not. Yes, there are people who fake to get off - but you have to remember that she was hospitalized for her condition BEFORE being arrested. Dewani only developed a mental illness AFTER being arrested...

      misstee.langhein - 2012-11-08 10:59

      Well Tigra, if she is so mentally ill then she shouldnt be allowed to own a pet at all, this poor pup didnt deserve that, imagne how the pup suffered in that car, dying of thirts and hunger. Mentally ill or not, she should be punished!! MY question is, why on earth did no one help the dog, or at least report it, surely someone must have seem the dog, why didnt anyone do something! Really sickens me how little people care about animals!!!!

  • Stefanus - 2011-06-13 15:54

    If that's the case she should NOT be allowed to ever get an animal again.

      Virginia - 2011-06-13 16:10

      Or a car.

      Currie_Mafia - 2011-06-13 16:14

      or be in public..

      Ntebo More - 2011-06-13 16:19

      or fly overseas

      Big Al - 2011-06-13 16:24

      or live near me.

      CraigColinRoyMcLeod - 2011-06-13 16:25

      All of the above.

      Jacques - 2011-06-13 16:33

      She must be sentenced - To listen to Jurie Els for 3 months - Non stop!!

      Sonicboom - 2011-06-13 16:44

      or eat any chutney!

      catbrains - 2011-06-13 16:45

      Jacques lol , at the spar in parys

      Ntebo More - 2011-06-13 16:48

      Sunicboom, What's wrong with Chutney? LOL

      squeegeepilot - 2011-06-13 17:03

      Jaques. Listening to Jurie Els is what caused her illness!

  • thinkza - 2011-06-13 15:54

    Mental disorder is such a cliché nowadays.

      Frungy - 2011-06-13 16:24

      Paranoid schizophrenia is no joke, and it is oddly common in South Africa. Research shows a link between marijuana consumption and the mental disorder, so that's probably the reason. I'm deeply distressed by the animal's death, but with a disorder as severe as paranoid schizophrenia she is clearly not guilty. If anyone should be held accountable it is ACSA. I mean come on, how could they NOT notice an animal in a monitored parking lot for over a month????

      thinkza - 2011-06-13 16:30

      @Frungy: I do believe many people in SA has mental problems, but everybody suddenly turns into a basket case when they must go to court. This is just a way to get away with it.

      squeegeepilot - 2011-06-13 17:04

      Is this Julius' defense? In his case it may be true.

  • Lioness - 2011-06-13 15:59

    If she has a car and can drive then she can be held accountable!!! This is absolute nonsense that she cannot be held accountable. - 2011-06-13 17:03

      Oh, get over yourselves. The deed is done, the dog is dead. Thank goodness it was not a human child left in the car.

  • Ann - 2011-06-13 16:00

    VERY SCARY that this person is allowed to drive a car! She also should not be let loose on the rest of the world!!!!!!

      OllieMor - 2011-06-13 16:34

      You think that's bad? Our neighbour is a certified Schizo. She lives on her own, has a history of having been in Weskoppies, and makes absurd claims against us (that we call her and then run away - while we're in Cape Town on holiday, that she hears us gossiping about her through er TV etc) This woman has owned a firearm (which had now been stolen, thank god!), she drives a car and absolutely NOBODY questions or monitors her comings or goings. We currently are in possession of a court order against her, prohibiting any contact, and her family still has the audacity to phone me and tell me that, based on her condition, the court order is not worth the paper it was written on!

  • gizmo_bj - 2011-06-13 16:02

    Does the airport not have security guards who might have heard the dog barking ? did they also not have the inclination to check the car that was parked there for a prolonged duration ? - don't get me wrong - I do believe that she is to blame for the situation but I also believe that if service/ security was up to scratch at the airport then this would have been avoided.

      thinkza - 2011-06-13 16:24

      @Yeah: There is no indication that gizamo_bj is black or white. Stop turning everything into racism.

      Ntebo More - 2011-06-13 16:32

      @ Yeah: I'm black but any race has a mentally ill people, they didn't ask to be like that

      Jacques - 2011-06-13 16:36

      At Yeah - Did you watch the Xenophobic mob murder on news 24 - This is what your kind do on a daily basis.....It saddens me to see an innocent man being beaten to death by animals...

      schmerz - 2011-06-13 16:43

      @yeah, (you are a) generic and baseless, brainwashed sheep I'd rather be a 'typical white fool' capable of thought than to be blindly following the herd down an obvious path of self-destruction

      Jamie - 2011-06-13 16:54

      Maybe it was a black dog

      Dan - 2011-06-13 16:56

      @ gizmo_bj. Haven't you heard? The gueard at the airport suffer from paranoid schizophrenia. Ask their lawyers if you don't believe me.

      Channi77 - 2011-06-13 16:57

      I say the same, someone must've heard Chutney barking or howling...doesn't make sense

      squeegeepilot - 2011-06-13 17:06

      gizmo, have you been in the OR Tambo parking area. It's huge. No wonder to me that no body heard the dog.

      Santana - 2011-06-13 18:22

      too many questions are being asked. I thought the same. Why didnt anyone notice the poor animal in the car ? Surely he must have barked and scratched at the doors and windows . Did no one see ? She must be held accountable for this by all means. Mental Illness or not.

      Robert M - 2011-06-14 07:54

      @Jacques your are a dirty bigoted racist

  • zulufox - 2011-06-13 16:03

    This person can drive and arranges trips to go over-seas... and she is not sane enough to know locking up a dog in a car for days is wrong? Come-on, sometimes the South African justice system is self-defeating...

      Jayden - 2011-06-13 16:12

      She knew which flight to catch, where to park the car, how to get to the airport, but why did she take the dog with in the first place, let alone leaving it in the car. She did not forget her luggage at home or in the car. My sympathy, Chutney, but this is "Balls".

  • moekels - 2011-06-13 16:05

    ...Poor bitch >.<

  • mamakalami - 2011-06-13 16:10

    She drove to the airport, parked in the right spot, didn't miss her flight - remembered where her car was parked six months before. I'm relatively sane and can never remember where my car is parked? This woman is bad news and has no respect for life and the law.

      schmerz - 2011-06-13 16:33

      Nobody is the same.

  • hannelie gerber - 2011-06-13 16:11

    She is well enough to discuss the release of her vehicle with lawyers, were well enough to drive herself to the airport, get on a plane etc... nope, I don't fall for this, she should still be held accountable for this. Few things are worse than animal abuse and neglect and this is definitely one for the history books. Why the hell did she have the animal in the first place, someone could / should have stepped in a long time ago

      Channi77 - 2011-06-13 16:56

      Hannelie..whenever someone does something wrong with the law today, it's easier to say you suffer from a mental illness, seems as if your fine or sentence will be lighter if you are mentally ill!! Her lawyer most probably told her to plead mentally ill..

  • Valis - 2011-06-13 16:16

    R24 000 for parking? I know ACSA keep putting up their fees but this is ridiculous :P

      DeonL - 2011-06-13 16:43

      She left more than 6 months ago (in December) , but it still sounds pricey at more than R130 per day.

  • abgush - 2011-06-13 16:22

    So...if she had left the dog at home who was going to care for it?

      skoert - 2011-06-13 17:04

      I am hopeful that Chutney would have stood a better chance of survival there. Surely she arranged somebody to look after her house while she was away? She seems to have remembered everything else for her trip.

  • Lyndatjie - 2011-06-13 16:23

    I hope she suffers as much as what she made that poor dog suffer...

      schmerz - 2011-06-13 16:37

      Oh nice, so what if that happened to you?

  • Stu - 2011-06-13 16:32

    Then why the F-ing heck is she still allowed to drive? Common people, wake up !! Take away her driving license !!

      tryanything - 2011-06-13 17:02

      why bother half the drivers on the roads today have no licences

  • suspiciousme - 2011-06-13 16:33


  • To The Point - 2011-06-13 16:36

    Then if she is mentally unstable why is she driving a car or allowed to own a dog or have children. She should be in a home and locked up with her lawyer - who seems equally lost arguing and defending such irresponsibility.

      Channi77 - 2011-06-13 16:54

      That's the same question I'm asking myself!! Why is she driving a car on her own???

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-06-13 16:39

    Life ban from ever owning pets again! Do as they do in Britain, name and shame! Just proves that any lunatic can own a pet and have a child often with very tragic consequences.

  • Channi77 - 2011-06-13 16:49

    Whenever someone commits an act like this, then it is said that they are suffering from a "mental illness"!! In the first place a mentally unstable patient flying out of the country shouldn't even be driving her own vehicle, you would think that family or friends would've driven her to the airport...This is just another excuse to get off lightly from the charge of animal abuse against her!

      kalabafazi - 2011-06-13 17:00

      It's the defence strategy of the 21st Century. Plead mental illness. It worked for Schaik, Dewani is giving it a go and now this lady has caught onto the trend.

  • Dan - 2011-06-13 16:51

    Conveniet excuse if you ask me. Only a lawyer can stoop so low in formulating a defence. I hope this woman gets what she deserves. Driving and travelling all over the world, but suffering from paranoid schizophrenia? I don't think so.

  • skoert - 2011-06-13 16:58

    Mentally ill? I'll say!

  • deborah.bergstedt - 2011-06-13 16:59

    and again we have a very very stupid person who is now going to try and get away with what she did by claiming "insanity" blah blah blah..........she dsn't want to pay the bills

  • gizmo_bj - 2011-06-13 16:59

    typical uneducated parasites!

  • frankm - 2011-06-13 17:14

    Its just a damn dog, people get over yourselves

  • pitbull - 2011-06-13 20:32

    Convenient that she can claim she was insane at the time of murdering her dog. People like her should never be allowed to own a dog. Why was she driving around or even allowed to fly. Good excuse. Now maybe i can go and shoot Malema and Zuma and claim I was insane!!!!!

  • VADERLAND - 2011-06-14 05:21

    She should have send the dog overseas and accidently lock herself in the car to die.

  • DangerDave - 2011-06-14 06:26

    That's just sick!! who the EFF does does that to an animal??? I wonder who this could be....hmm

  • Tania - 2011-06-14 21:25

    Working at an Airport we dealt with such a cross-section of the Community that the mentally ill crossed out paths every day. Some of themonly manifest when there are delays in baggage, etc - and then you realize that a notmal person wearing a suit and neatly polished shoes can become a raving lunatic. I have seen people throwing things at agents because their regular seat is unavailable. Their interaction is normal up to a point, they remember their flight details and passport, but the stress of flying and the presence so many strangers can cause some people to tip from normal to abnormal. Mental problems are not a constant for most people: stress and triggers affect different people according to their disorder. I don't think this lady would deliberately have left her dog in the car. Remember the father who left his toddler in the car at the airport a few years back? Be careful how you judge: anyone can snap and lose their mind. You don't know her personal situation at the time.

  • Antoinette - 2011-12-09 06:09

    Paranoid Schizophrenia is real and does not generally effect your ability to drive, unless the person is very agitated . It is the most 'functional' types of Schizophrenia, and many people are working and in the community with it . . It seems like she does genuinely have it since she was in institutions for a long time after she left SA , its not a label that is thrown around lightly . It does not make you confused or disoreientated , just really scared . She needs supervision sure , to check she is taking her medication and to check she is on the right path , but other than that there is no reason she cant drive , have pets etc etc . Please google paranoid schizophrenia and learn about mental illness .

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2011-12-09 09:33

    stupid bitch, maybe she should be lovked in a car with no food and water or oxygen for a couple of months, good excuse saying she is mentally ill.

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