Dogs that killed boy were ‘too vicious’ for trainer

2017-09-12 13:45
James Sinkins (8).

James Sinkins (8). (File)

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A dog trainer testifying at the inquest into the death of James Sinkins (8) said a few months earlier she had refused to train the dogs that attacked him because they were “too vicious”.

Professional dog trainer and owner of the Midlands Puppy School, Rachel Manser, gave evidence at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

James, a special needs child, was attacked by the neighbours’ dogs in the garden of his family home in Howick in December 2015.

According to Manser, she was called by the owner of the dogs, Shanaaz Alladin, in June or July that year to visit them at home in order to judge whether she could train the Alladins’ two German Shepherds.

Manser said that when she arrived at the Alladin house, Shanaaz and her son had the two dogs on leads “but they were battling to hold and control the dogs”.

“They were lunging toward me and barking in a non-friendly manner. I became afraid as I believed they would attack me,” Manser said.

But Alladin, who is representing herself in the inquest, said that she remembered Manser “baiting” her dogs with a piece of meat.

Alladin said Manser had baited the dogs with meat to see how they would react. Manser denied this allegation.

According to her, she rushed inside the house for her own safety.

Alladin admitted that Manser had been intimidated by the dogs.

Manser told the inquest court that she told Alladin that she could not train the dogs as they were too vicious and she was afraid that her life would be in danger if she took on the task.

SA Police Warrant Officer Shaun Robert Downing, who also gave evidence on Monday, provided the court with photographs of the scene where the attack took place as well as photographs of James’ injuries taken in the mortuary.

When the evidence was presented, James’ mother, Estelle, burst into tears in the public gallery.

The photographs showed injuries to his face, neck, throat and body.

The case will resume today when it is expected that two SPCA employees will testify.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dog attacks

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