Owner backs dogs in court

2017-12-20 14:10

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A Pietermaritzburg magistrate, Dieter Schultz, will make his findings known in January in connection with the inquest into the death of James Sinkins (8), who was alleged to have been the victim of a savage dog attack.

The court was yesterday shown photographs of the scene where James — the special needs son of Estelle and Graydon Sinkins — was allegedly attacked by neighbouring dogs in the garden of their Merrivale home in 2015.

The dog owners, Shanaaz and Aslam Alladin, had taken the photos. Shanaaz Alladin also showed the court three video clips shot before the attack of her two black dogs. In one video the dogs are seen playing with her son.

The picture that emerged from the footage was that the dogs were child-friendly and well behaved.

Senior public prosecutor Hitesh Heeralall testified at the hearing that he and the investigating officer had visited the Sinkins home a year after the incident, to conduct an inspection of the property to enable him to make “an informed decision” on whether to prosecute in the matter.

Heeralall described what he saw, saying there were no sections of the boundary between the neighbours being broken or displaced, and “there was no visible hole”.

He added that when they were leaving, they saw the Aladdins, who allowed them to inspect their property. His observations were the same as when he inspected the Sinkins’ property.

He continued that the Alladins showed them videos of the dogs taken before the attack and photographs, some of which he said were the same as those handed to the court.

Heeralall said the owners made them available on a USB flash drive, but he could not recall where he’d kept it.

Shanaaz Alladin was also permitted to hand her and her husband’s statements after asking the magistrate if she could.

Her typed statement spanned 21 pages. She quoted sections from the Children’s Act and submitted photographs from the scene as well as of James in hospital after he was injured.

In her statement, Alladin criticised Estelle, alleging she was “not a reliable witness to the incident and the only witness to the incident”.

Alladin absolved herself from any blame for what had happened.

“Ferocious and vicious is not what I would ever have called my loving pets … they have never bitten a person in their lives, this would have been the first time it happened and they have already lost their lives for it,” she wrote.

Estelle testified previously that the attack happened as she had been about to drive out of her gate on an assignment, leaving James playing outside her parents’ cottage in their yard. As she closed the gate, she saw their family dog, Jessie, “whining, barking” and trying to get through a fence in the area where James was. She went there and saw the neighbours’ dogs attacking James.

The child died two days after the attack, hours after being transferred to the ICU at St Anne’s Hospital.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  dog attack

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