Owner may have given away pit-bull alleged to have savaged Ashburton jogger

2010-02-09 00:00

THE pit-bull terrier that severely injured Ashburton resident Janice Whitelaw has vanished.

Whitelaw was bitten on the arm, face and neck by the 18-month-old pit-bull, Velo, and a smaller dog while jogging in the neighbourhood on Thursday evening.

The dog, owned by Keagan Petersen (20), has a reputation in the area for being ferocious.

It has allegedly attacked and terrorised a number of residents and their dogs. Gardeners and domestic workers who have to walk past the house to get to work are said to be so fearful of the dog that they walk in groups or take longer routes.

Whitelaw, who was released from hospital yesterday to recover at home, said that after the story was published on Saturday, police came to take a statement from her in hospital.

She was told that the police were going to interview Petersen’s father.

Whitelaw’s husband, Gavin (not Clive as published previously), has been unable to get clarity about what should happen to the dog and who will be responsible for euthanasing it.

He was not even clear about whether they could open a case against the dogs’ owners after being told that he would have to wait until his wife could make a statement.

The Witness understands that the SPCA does not have jurisdiction to impound dogs, which is the responsibility of the Msunduzi Municipality’s licensing department.

A team from the municipality was due to collect the dog from the owner’s home yesterday, allegedly to be put down. However, when they went to the house yesterday, the dog was gone.

The Witness has learnt that the owner told the municipality that the dog has been given away.

When interviewed by Weekend Witness on Friday, Petersen said his dog poses no threat in the neighbourhood. He added that the dog was too fat and lazy to be able to jump the fence. However, this was challenged by many people who said they have seen it jump the fence.

Whitelaw said the gate was closed when she was attacked.

Petersen said Velo walks with a limp from an injury some time ago. He added that he loved his dog and would rather have it removed than have it killed.

When the municipal official responsible for the case was contacted, The Witness was told that only the manager could comment to the media.

Msunduzi Municipality licensing department manager Mandla Sithole told the paper to call after an hour by when he would have been briefed.

He was contacted both on his landline and cellphone numerous times but was unavailable.

The Whitelaws have opened a case against the dog owners for keeping a ferocious dog.

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