Eco champion savaged by five dogs

2018-02-23 14:27
Howick local Nikki Brighton, is recovering after five dogs attacked her and her small pooch while on an early morning walk yesterday. Brighton and the dog are in recovery and said to be doing "okay".

Howick local Nikki Brighton, is recovering after five dogs attacked her and her small pooch while on an early morning walk yesterday. Brighton and the dog are in recovery and said to be doing "okay". (Facebook)

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A Howick woman’s early morning walk with her dog turned into a nightmare when five dogs attacked her and her small dog, forcing her to shield her dog and bear the brunt of the attack.

“I found her lying in a foetal position on the road covered in blood, grass and mud, and she was just cuddling her dog, trying to protect it from the other dogs,” said Elna Taylor, a friend of the victim, Nikki Brighton.

Brighton, founder of the NGO Midlands Meander Education Project (MMEP) that provides education to over 6 000 children in the Midlands, is believed to have been walking her small, elderly mixed breed dog, Dizzy, in Berea Road when five dogs roaming the street attacked them.

“It was 5.40 am and I heard barking and then screaming,” said Taylor.

“I ran out and saw a car had stopped at the side of the road. It turned out to be a traffic officer on her way to work. Then I saw Nikki. I did not recognise her at first. She was in the foetal position protecting her dog.”

Taylor’s partner, Simon Colvin, was also at the scene and said there had been a man throwing stones at the dogs to get them away from Brighton but the man became nervous and stopped. Colvin said three of the dogs had already wandered off, but two were still trying to attack Brighton and Dizzy.

Colvin said he tried to keep the dogs away from Brighton (by shouting and shooing them away) while Taylor rushed the injured woman into their home and the traffic officer called for medical assistance. “She was immensely brave. She was more worried about her Dizzy than she was about her injuries,” said Taylor.

Brighton was seriously injured with severe dog bite wounds to her face and neck and was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Taylor said the incident had left her traumatised and that it is “not something one can get over”.

“The whole day I had the image of what I saw in my head. You will be doing something and lose concentration because you are replaying this whole horror movie in your head.”

Brighton’s partner, Paul van Uytrecht, said she was “all stitched up and sedated”, but she “will be okay”.

The couple’s dog, Dizzy, also had a few stitches but is expected to make a full recovery.

The owners of the dogs that attacked Brighton and Dizzy were contacted by The Witness but they declined to comment on Thursday.

uMngeni SPCA manager Dudu Abraham said three of the dogs had been surrendered to the SPCA, however, the owners of the other two dogs had allegedly refused to hand over their dogs.

She added it appeared that only two of the five dogs had been vaccinated against rabies.

uMngeni municipal spokesperson Thando Mgaga said on Thursday that the municipality’s by-laws state no dog should be allowed in a public place unless it is on a leash. He said an authorised officer may impound any dog found wandering at large and uncontrolled in a public place.

A source at the state vet who could not be named said that dog bite wounds fall under the Department of Health and that they should be recorded and followed up on regularly.

The source said that dog control was the function of the municipality and it was their job to police wandering hounds.

The state vet becomes involved when the dog is suspected to be rabid, added the source.

A private vet who would not be named said it was unlikely the dogs had rabies as dogs who attacked in a mob were usually not rabid.

He added that healthy dogs could sense a sick dog and would likely run away from a rabid dog.

“The onus is on the owner to produce proof of vaccination and if they cannot provide the proof, it is the discretion of the state vet to either quarantine or euthanise the dog.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dog attack

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