- A pit bull attack in East London has led to fresh calls for the power breed to be banned as domestic pets.
- Likhanyile Zekevu hasn't been to school due to wounds he suffered last Wednesday.
- Angry Bhongweni residents want the breed to be removed permanently from residential areas.
An East London woman whose American pit bull terrier viciously mauled her neighbour’s nine-year-old boy has been arrested for contravening the Animal Matters Amendment Act.
The 37-year-old woman appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and was released until her next court appearance.
The attack took place at Bhongweni informal settlement in East London last Wednesday.
The screaming Grade 3 pupil was freed from the jaws of the power breed by his horrified mother, Zoliswa Zekevu, who was assisted by a neighbour.
Zekevu said: "I heard his screams outside coming from the back of the yard and came out to investigate and found him being mauled by the pit bull. I hit the dog three times with a brick before it released him. A neighbour quickly grabbed it with a leash on its neck."
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She said the owner of the dog had come out due to commotion and fetched the animal.
Zekevu then rushed her son Likhanyile to Frere Hospital, where he was admitted for a day for bite wounds to his back, upper thighs, shin and chest.
The police said a case was opened last Thursday, after the boy was discharged from hospital.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Majola Nkohli added that the SPCA had taken the owner’s three dogs into custody.
The incident has led to fresh calls for the breed to be banned as domestic pets in South Africa.
The "Ban Pit Bulls As Domestic Pets in SA" online petition has garnered more than 139 000 digital signatures.
It is championed by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation.
The head of the foundation, Sizwe Kupelo, told News24 that he had been invited to Parliament to present his petition to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza next month.
Ward 31 community activist Anele Ncumbese said the community of Bhongweni would be left with no choice but to put down all pit bulls if the SPCA did not remove the dogs from the area.
"Unfortunately, if you report the cases to the law enforcement and they don’t act, there is nothing left for the community other than to take the law into their own hands, even though we don’t necessasrily encourage that," he said.
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Ncumbese added that the decision to back a ban on pit bulls had been taken to save lives.
"What are we going to do when the dog attacks another child and kills them. Are we going to just symphathise?" he asked.
The child has not been able to go to school since the attack.