Pit bull attack: police wait on autopsy report

Two pit bulls who attacked a 66-year-old Durbanville man bit his face, head and feet, say police.

The 66-year-old man who was mauled by two pit bulls in Durbanville also suffered a heart attack, police say.

However, they are waiting on an autopsy report from the province’s pathology service to learn the exact cause of death.

Two pit bulls escaped from their yard in Hadeda Street and attacked the man in front of his house on Friday November 5, at 1pm, police say.

The dogs bit the man’s face, head and feet, according to Durbanville police spokesman Captain Marchell Rhode.

“Police were contacted by radio control, but, upon arrival, the dogs were back in the owner’s yard. The man passed away on the scene. We have opened an inquest docket.”

Asked if Durbanville police could identify a probable cause of death, he said: “At this stage, we can confirm that he had a heart attack.”

It was unclear how the dogs had escaped the yard, he said.

City Law Enforcement took the dogs to the SPCA. They would stay there until the court had ruled on the matter, said Law Enforcement spokesman Wayne Dyason.

“The City’s Law Enforcement Department has submitted its docket to the Municipal Court. It is now up to the court to decide on the matter,” he said.

SPCA Cape of Good Hope spokeswoman Belinda Abraham said: “Pit bull ownership requires an understanding and acceptance of their genetic make-up and an investment in their environment to maintain an equilibrium and avert disasters.

“Pet owners must spend quality time with their dogs. On a daily basis, our inspectors see dogs living on chains or confined to a small area of a property. These dogs isolated from the family and visitors, lose coping skills, trust and tolerance towards people.”

She added that the vast majority of dog owners punished their dogs inappropriately.

“Too often, people hit their dogs for reasons the animals cannot understand. Being pet and hit by the same hand causes serious confusion and conflict within the dog’s mind. Human aggression often causes canine aggression.”

Spokeswoman for the provincial Forensic Pathology Services, Deanna February, said the autopsy had been completed and a report would be sent to the SAPS investigating officer.