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SPCA investigates dog’s death

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“One has to bear in mind that it would be the SPCA who will be taking further action against those responsible for the death of the dog and not the owner of the dog,”

THE SPCA in Kimberley has confirmed that further investigations into an incident where a pit bull terrier was killed after it attacked two children will be conducted.

The incident occurred on Tuesday and saw two young children, seven-year-old Phemelo Maruping and three-year-old Thateho Gaobosi, having to undergo reconstructive surgery after they were attacked by the dog.

A large piece of Thateho’s scalp was ripped off during the attack while Phemelo suffered severe injuries to his arms, face and legs as well as a broken jaw.

The SPCA investigation follows the emergence of a video allegedly depicting Phemelo’s father, Hector Maruping, hitting a dog, which is purported to be the dog that attacked the children, with a spade and a steel rod.

The dog is tied to a wall in a yard while a person films the video through a window from inside the house.

There are also stones being thrown at the dog but the video does not show who is throwing the stones.

An inspector at the SPCA, Mario van der Westhuizen, said yesterday that the organisation would investigate.

“I will have to talk to committee members who will make a decision regarding this issue. This is one of the hardest decisions I am faced with as an officer who has been in service for more than 17 years. We have to take both sides into consideration. We will have a decision by next week. One has to bear in mind that it would be the SPCA who will be taking further action against those responsible for the death of the dog and not the owner of the dog,” said van der Westhuizen.

He pointed out that in cases where a dog attacks a person there are certain procedures that need to be followed.

“In such a situation we usually bring the dog in and see if it is still aggressive. If the aggression does not subside, then we speak to the owners. Normally when a dog turns on its owner, that owner would take the decision to put the dog down,” he said.

Maruping said yesterday that if any action was taken against him, he would fight it.

“The focus is now on the dog. There are people on social media stating that the dog was provoked. That makes this matter even more frustrating. There was a crowd of people at the scene who were throwing stones at the dog and there are witnesses who can attest to that,” said Maruping.

He said that although the owners came to apologise, he believed they had ulterior motives.

“We know it was the family who took the video as they were inside the house. This infuriates me, as the family knew when they came to apologise that they were going to go behind our backs to spread lies about us. My child is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) and can only eat liquids. He has been severely injured and scarred and will have to live with his scars. My child has suffered severe trauma which he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

“The owner of the dog can buy a new dog but I cannot buy a new child. There is no price I can pay to spare him from this horrific incident and I also won’t be able to protect him when people mock him as a result of his scars. It seems like my child’s life is seen as less than that of a dog.

“I will fight this matter should any action be taken against me. Currently I need to support my child and pray for his healing.”