Ex-cop lays charges, says his son shot pitbull in defence

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The injury to the snout of Sadha Pillay’s German Shepherd after treatment.
The injury to the snout of Sadha Pillay’s German Shepherd after treatment.

The attorney representing a former Pietermaritzburg police officer, Sadha Pillay, on Tuesday issued a statement explaining what led to the shooting of a neighbouring pitbull terrier by Pillay’s son, Neil, last Friday evening.

The pitbull owner, Shriya Singh, told The Witness on Monday she was devastated when her dog was killed.

In the statement issued on behalf of Pillay by local attorney Surendra Singh, he said it’s alleged it was “purely out of self defence of his family, Neil Pillay fired one shot from his gun which caused the pitbull known as Bella to be shot dead”.

According to the lawyer, the incident happened at about 5.15 pm when “a pitbull now known to be Bella and belonging to the Singh family ... came to the front gate of Sadha Pillay’s home and began barking at the dog belonging to Sadha Pillay.

“Both Pillay and his wife made numerous endeavours to save their dog but both the pitbulls held onto the dog clearly with an intention to rip the dog apart.”
Attorney Surendra Sing.

“As is behaviour of dogs, the Pillay dog went to the metal gate and put its snout through the gap in the gate.

“The pitbull on the pavement was extremely aggressive and grabbed Sadha’s dog on the upper jaw and the muzzle area.

“Sadha’s dog battled to break loose and at the same time the pitbull known as Bella was extremely aggressive. It appeared that the jaw of the pitbull had locked onto the dog belonging to Sadha.

“While Bella held onto Sadha’s dog causing it injury on the muzzle and upper jaw, Sadha’s dog then put its paw through the gap in the gate to try and get the pitbull off of its muzzle.

ALSO READ | Family dog allegedly shot dead by ex-cop neighbour in Northdale.

“As the dog put its paw through the gap in the gate, a second pitbull which was totally out of control grabbed the paw of the dog.

“Attempts by the Sadha Pillay family to save their dog — which lasted about 10 minutes came to nil.”

He said while Mrs Pillay was attempting to free her dog, she was severely injured and had to seek medical attention.

“Both Pillay and his wife made numerous endeavours to save their dog but both the pitbulls held onto the dog clearly with an intention to rip the dog apart.”

It is alleged in the statement that despite being called to remove her dogs the owner of the pitbulls “did nothing”, seemingly overcome by fear.

“In the interim Neil Pillay, the son of Sadha heard his parents scream.

“He ran out of the house to investigate what was happening.

ALSO READ | Devastated father holds no grudge after dogs kill three-year-old son.

“When he realised that both pitbulls were on his dog he also tried to get the pitbulls off of the dog. The pitbulls were extremely aggressive and nobody in the neighbourhood would come to the rescue of the Pillay family.

“Purely out of self defence of his family, Neil Pillay fired one shot from his gun which caused the pitbull known as Bella to be shot dead. The shot fired was not aimed at the pitbull but nonetheless struck it dead. It was merely a warning shot to scare the dog off and relinquish its lockjaw.

“As this occurred the other pitbull released its grip on the dog’s paw.”

It is alleged in the statement that the pitbull owner subsequently used “vulgar language” and that people who arrived in front of the Pillay home (allegedly her family and friends) “all began hurling abuse at the Pillay family”.

Police were called to the scene.

“They also want an investigation into why three ferocious pitbulls were let loose in Karupana Road on Friday afternoon without being kept on a leash.”
Attorney Surendra Sing.

The statement claims that more vulgar language was used and that a relative of the pitbull owner had stated at the scene that “they should open a false charge against Sadha Pillay for pointing a firearm”.

Surendra Singh said Sadha Pillay does not own a firearm, nor did he shoot the pitbull or come out onto the pavement.

“In fact no sane person would risk his life coming out of his yard to confront two aggressive pitbulls.”

He added that Sadha Pillay did not at any stage point a firearm at anybody and that the firearm belongs to Neil Pillay.

He said when Mountain Rise police members arrived they took away the firearm together with the spent cartridge and bullet as well as the firearm licence belonging to Neil Pillay.

Forensic and gunpowder residue tests were also carried out on both Sadha and Neil Pillay.

ALSO READ | Camperdown man lucky to be alive after dog mauling.

Pillay’s dog was also injured in the incident and received veterinary treatment.

“The Pillay family want charges of malicious injury to property and crimen injuria amongst other charges to be opened against the Singh family.

“They also want an investigation into why three ferocious pitbulls were let loose in Karupana Road on Friday afternoon without being kept on a leash,” said the statement.

Surendra Singh further added that by the same evening a “totally false version was splashed across Facebook and in WhatsApp messages”.

“In this regard it is anticipated that a number of summonses will be issued on behalf of the Pillay family against those persons responsible for placing false and defamatory statements about this incident on social media,” he added.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Sean Singh confirmed that charges were laid at the police station in the wake of the incident by both parties.

He said a case of discharging a firearm was opened “against the man who shot the dog”.

He said a counter charge of crimen injuria was opened against the owners of the dog.

Correction

Shriya Singh contacted The Witness on Tuesday and told reporter Lethiwe Makhanya that she had made a mistake when she told the paper that her dog was shot dead by Sadha Pillay, and said it was indeed shot by his son, Neil Pillay.


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