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Pit bull’s owner fined

The pit bull which attacked two Franschhoek residents on the West Coast was returned to its owner after being confiscated. Mariska Burger and her daughter, Kristy, competed in a horseback endurance race when they were attacked by the aggressive pit bull on Tabakbaai near Saldanha Bay. The incident happened on 9 February at about 10:00.

Mariska intervened as the dog, named Boesman, started attacking her daughter. The dog bit her thigh and severed her hand. Kristy’s horse, Naseeba Zaim, was also attacked and suffered injuries to its snout. The owner apparently looked on as the dog attacked and swore at the victims when he retrieved his dog.

Her husband, DP Burger, said his wife is doing well. The stitches have been removed from her hand but they still have a long way to go before settling the ordeal and to estimate the medical and financial implications.

DP was shocked to find out the dog was released back to its owner after only being fined R1 000 by Saldanha Bay Municipality’s Law Enforcement. “The dog must probably first kill someone before something will be done,” he said.

Ethne Julius, Saldanha Bay Municipality’s spokesperson, confirmed the man was fined R1 000 and that the dog was returned to its owner.

She said the “municipality may, subject to the provision of its pound by-law, order the euthanisation or the destruction of an animal found in or on a public street or public space, and which is dangerous or ferocious to the extent that a person’s life or property is endangered”.

Paarl Post enquired why this step has not been taken and was informed there are municipal processes in place which need to be considered before an animal is euthanised.

“An examination must first be conducted by an animal behaviour expert before a final decision can be made in this regard,” said Julius.

She said the owner will appear in court on 18 April and based on the outcome of the court ruling, the animal will be dealt with accordingly.

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