'I can't describe what it was like seeing her like that' - son of woman, 88, killed by pit bulls

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Olga Grill. (Photo: Supplied)
Olga Grill. (Photo: Supplied)
  • Olga Grill, 88, was found dead in the backyard of her Bonteheuwel home on Tuesday.
  • She had been mauled by her neighbour's two pit bulls.
  • The dogs' owner, Shafiek du Plooy, insisted they had not previously acted aggressively.

WARNING: Story includes details of a graphic nature 

The body of an 88-year-old Cape Town woman is believed to have only been discovered several hours after her neighbour's two pit bulls attacked and mauled her in her backyard.

Olga Grill died after her neighbour's dogs assailed her in her backyard in Bonteheuwel on Tuesday. She is believed to have been hanging her laundry when the pair jumped over the fence and attacked.

Her heartbroken son, Graham Woodman, 68, left home in the early hours of the morning for work. He had made her breakfast to tide her over until her carer arrived at 10:00.

His mother was fiercely independent, Woodman said. She preferred to take care of herself, insisting that she could cook and clean for herself, despite his offers to do the household chores for her.

READ | A year ago she was viciously attacked by 3 pitbulls now Dipuo desperately wants her mutilated face to be fixed

It is believed the dogs attacked while she had been securing her washing on a line with pegs.

When her carer arrived that morning, there was no answer at the Loganberry Street house and she left.

Woodman arrived home later that afternoon. His persistent knocking, too, went unanswered.

He then went to collect the emergency spare key from a nearby resident and when he returned, his next-door neighbour called him over.

Shafiek du Plooy said he had gone outside to feed his dogs, but when he looked for them, they weren't there.

He said:

I summoned them and the female dog, Katalina, jumped over the fence [from Grill's backyard] and went to hide. I didn't even know they could jump that high.

Du Plooy, who has had the dogs for four years, said that when he opened the gate separating their backyards, he saw Grill's body, face down in the grass.

She was curled up in the foetal position.

Her stomach had been mauled open and her arm had been chewed through. Woodman said one of his mother's feet was also missing.

Du Plooy rang the police and his parents to tell them what had happened.

After having summoned Woodman, he led him to the backyard to his mother's body.

At that time, the male pit bull, Troubles, came running out of Grill's back door.

"I don't understand what happened. They have never been aggressive - they were our guard dogs. The gate was built so that we could open it at night so that my dogs could protect both of our properties, then I would close it in the morning," Du Plooy said.

He was devastated that his pets had killed Grill, who would often ask him to run to the shop for her and whose home he would clean from time to time.

Graham Woodman at the gate which separates his pro
Graham Woodman at the gate which separates his property from his neighbour's. (Photo: Tammy Petersen)

She would insist on paying him, he said, and when he declined, would give him sweets and biscuits for his two-year-old daughter.

A teary-eyed Woodman said his mother still had a lot of life left in her. Some of their relatives had lived well into their 90s and he had assumed that she would too.

He said:

I can't describe what it was like seeing her like that. My heart is broken.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said an inquest docket was opened.

"The circumstances surrounding this fatal incident are under investigation," he said.

"At this stage, no foul play is suspected."

City of Cape Town law enforcement spokesperson Wayne Dyason said the dogs were surrendered and taken to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said it would await the finalisation of the police investigation before deciding the "fate of the dogs".

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