Dogs maul women: 'I remember the screams, blood and terror in her eyes'

2019-04-04 12:30
Kaylie Vermeulen. (Supplied)

Kaylie Vermeulen. (Supplied)

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Just more than a week after being attacked by dogs in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the victims says she thought she’d die that day.

Kaylie Vermeulen, 28, told YOU that she’s still heavily traumatised by the attack in Illovo Beach, near Amanzimtoti.

She says the morning of 25 March started like any other – she got up, got ready for work and left the house at about 06.30. She’d just driven out of her property when she heard the terrified screams, and saw a woman lying in the road.

"At first I thought the woman had been hit by a bakkie that was standing in the road. So I got out of the car to try to help. That’s when I saw that five dogs were mauling the woman," Kaylie says.

I remember the screams ... the blood, the terror in her eyes

"You don’t know what to do. The bakkie driver was trying to get the dogs off the woman but they kept coming back to bite her. I remember the screams ... the blood, the terror in her eyes."

The dogs were attacking Prudence Khuzwayo, 49, a domestic helper. The bakkie driver, JP Swanepoel, had come across the scene and was trying to help her.

Kaylie says when one of the dogs ran to a house further down the road, she went to the house hoping to find the dogs’ owners.

She confronted a man from outside the property, who then went to call the owner inside the house. Kaylie alleges he took minutes to come outside – while the dogs were still attacking Prudence.

'I screamed for help but the owner just stood there'

"Eventually, the man called the dogs. But when they ran toward the house they attacked me too. I screamed for help but the owner just stood there. JP also tried to help me.

"The owner fetched the gate remote and the dogs ran inside the yard."

Both women have serious injuries to their legs and arms. Kaylie alleges she begged the dogs’ owner to call an ambulance but that never happened.

The two women were taken to separate local hospitals.

"The owner said he’s sorry – I got the feeling he cares only about what’s going to happen to his dogs. He asked us not to report him to the SPCA, saying the dogs are his children and he’s scared they’ll be put down," Kaylie says.

She’s recuperating at home and says she’s planning legal action. Her lawyer, Shaun Jacobs, can’t comment at this stage.

'She still has nightmares of the incident'

Eureka Olivier, from the human-rights organisation Operation Bobbi Bear, says Prudence has been discharged from hospital. She’s in extreme pain from the bite wounds to both her legs. Olivier is involved in the incident because Prudence used to be a volunteer at the organisation.

"She’s terribly traumatised. She’s not speaking. She still has nightmares of the incident and is terrified. We’re organising trauma counselling for her," Olivier says.

The bite marks on Prudence’s legs are "the worst doctors have seen in a long time", according to Olivier.

"She’s on pain medication. This is a horrific thing that’s happened to her – I’m not leaving it there."

Olivier wants to take legal action in her personal capacity too.

Tracey Pirling, a spokesperson of the SPCA in Amanzimtoti, says the organisation can’t act until local police instruct them to do so.

Pirling says the incident is a police matter and not a case for the SPCA.

"The police will instruct us to put the animals down but we have to wait for the investigation to be concluded."

Charges have been laid at the Amanzimtoti SAPS.

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