South Africa: Premier of the Free State province, Sefora Ntombela, has made an impassioned plea to dog owners across the province to ensure the safety of their animals as well as that of residents where they reside.
Three fatal dog attacks have been recorded in the Free State province this year, with two of them taking place in quick succession in the month of November. The first of the two attacks, which took place this month, and resulted in the death of two children, took place in Bloemfontein.
Olebogeng Mosime, an eight year – old Grade 3 Roseview primary school, was attacked and killed by a neighbour’s dog on 12 November. He was laid to rest on Friday, 18 November 2022.
Then yesterday, 3 year – old Keketso Saule lost his life when a ferocious dog, also believed to be a neighbour’s, attacked and killed him.
The dogs which killed both children are believed to be the feared pit bull terrier breed. At Mosime’s funeral service on Friday, the Deputy Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Mapaseka Mothibi – Nkoane warned that by-laws would be strengthened to prevent similar attacks. With respect to the keeping of a dog, the municipal by-laws clearly state that: “No person shall urge any dog to attack, worry or frighten any person or animal or through negligence fail to prevent any dog from attacking, worrying or frightening any person.”
Following this spate of dog attacks, 49 pitbull terriers in the Free State province have been handed over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Premier Ntombela has called on dog owners to make sure that their animals pose no danger to members of Society.
“I have been disturbed by reports of dog attacks which have to date, claimed the lives of two children in the province. The deaths of these children are unfortunate because, had greater care been exercised, the lives of those children could have been spared. It is quite concerning to see owners casually walking with these dogs on our streets without a leash, and I call on all dog owners, particularly the pitbull terrier breed, to exercise greater caution. People are absolutely petrified of these dogs, and it is little wonder, given the dogs’ vicious nature.
I was encouraged by the words of the Deputy Mayor of Mangaung, Mme Mapaseka Mothibi – Nkoane, who announced, during Olebong Mosime’s funeral, that dog owners will be required to have a licence starting next year. This is encouraging, and hopefully, those who do not abide by these laws face harsh penalties. Our children should not be losing their lives to what has, for the longest time, been known as a man’s best friend.