‘Dogs must be put down’

2017-09-12 13:45
Jaap Jacobs recuperates in MediClinic Hospital after rescuing UKZN student Fay Morris from the jaws of two Rottweilers last week.

Jaap Jacobs recuperates in MediClinic Hospital after rescuing UKZN student Fay Morris from the jaws of two Rottweilers last week. (Ian Carbutt)

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The hero of last week’s dog attack on a UKZN student is “haunted by the sight of her bloodied body” and adamant the two Rottweilers should be put down.

Jaap Jacobs (56), a post-graduate student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, was also bitten.

He said he is an animal lover with five dogs but wants the dogs responsible for the apparently unprovoked attack on Fay Morris euthanised.

Morris’ mother, Mavis, last week said the same.

But Cecil Thomas, whose son owns the dogs and who regularly has them at his own home, said the family has no intention of putting them down.

“I heard these dogs were running around [that day] between 9 am and 10 am and they never bit anyone [else]. When they were being put in the SPCA vehicle, the lady just stood there and put them in.

“These are not vicious dogs, Why make it out as if they were killers?”

Thomas added that he was “very sorry” for what the dogs had done.

He declined to say whether he was contemplating any action to get the dogs back from the SPCA.

The dogs, which are fully vaccinated, are currently still in an enclosure at the SPCA which is awaiting a decision by a court or person in authority on whether to release the dogs or euthanise them.

Jacobs, a post-graduate fine arts student, on Monday spoke out for the first time since the ordeal last Thursday when the two Rottweilers strayed onto the campus after somehow getting out of their owner’s yard.

An emotional Jacobs told The Witness that in his opinion, the dogs’ owners were negligent.

“I am the last person to kill anything, but the dogs should really be put down,” he said. “If you’ve got dogs like that, you have a responsibility to keep them in the yard and make sure they can’t get out.”

Jacobs, a married father of two who lives in Hilton, said he is afraid he will forever be haunted by the image of Morris’ bloodied body.

He said he was working indoors on campus when the incident happened.

“I heard screaming ... I came out and I could see two Rottweilers and they had someone pinned to the ground and were shaking her on the concrete.

“I grabbed one dog and punched it on its face, but my hand just bounced off. So I put my leg over the dog and straddled it so it could not move.”

“The other dog went for my calf from behind.”

He said he had reached for a nearby mop and had broken it over that dog.

“I then flung the dog [he was straddling] and in the process my glasses came off. As I went to pick up my glasses and go through a gate [to safety] one bit me on my heel.”

He said: “I’m just glad I was there and able to help. I was shocked when I looked down and realised it was Fay. When I saw her, I thought she had lost her leg.”

Jacobs described Morris as a “remarkable” person, who was popular with her classmates. He said he was not yet emotionally ready to see Morris, but said he would visit her soon.

He said he will go for counselling once out of hospital.

“All I want is for Fay to bounce back. I’ve got two [bite] holes in my foot. That’s nothing compared to what she’s gone through,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said the dogs’ owners had tried to contact him, but he did not want to speak to them.

“I am still a bit cross [with them].”

The dogs allegedly strayed onto campus at the Centre for Visual Arts and brutally attacked Morris (35) as she walked between two buildings.

She was in the final stages of her masters degree in ceramics.

Her mother said Morris told them that moments after she passed the dogs one grabbed her by the back of the neck, throwing her to the ground, and then began shaking her. The other savaged her on her right leg.

She suffered horrific bite injuries all the way down her right side and was grazed along the left side from being dragged.

Morris also now faces the prospect of having to defer the finalisation of her degree as it is not known how long she will need to recover from the critical injuries she sustained. Morris was yesterday still in high care but “improving”, her sister Lee-Anne confirmed in a text message to The Witness.

Police have said they are investigating a possible criminal charge against the owners.

Later on Monday Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha had not responded to a query about what the city’s bylaws are concerning allegedly dangerous pets.

General bylaws dated September 2012 on the city’s website stated keeping “any wild or ferocious animal” was not allowed and, if necessary, the animal could be “destroyed by an authorised official” in the name of safety.

Legal sources have told The Witness Msunduzi’s bylaws are allegedly outdated as they have to be confirmed annually.

However, offenders can be charged under the Animal Matters Amendment Act of 1993. The act states “any person as a result of whose negligence an animal causes injury to another person, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”

Read more on:    dog attacks

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