Domestic worker Lillian Mkosi, 57, has nightmares about her employer’s pit bulls ripping into her skin during an attack in Monte Vista late last month.
Ms Mkosi, of Khayelitsha, was left with gaping wounds to her arms, legs and head after the two dogs attacked her without provocation.
Her employer, Monte Vista resident Brent Chad, said the attack had left him in disbelief, and he has promised to pay all Ms Mkosi’s medical bills.
“I did not know they could be that vicious and aggressive. What happened to her is disgusting. Before the attack, I had friends over to the house and the dogs interacted with them well. I can’t describe how devastating this attack is to me,” he said.
Ms Mkosi said she had told her boss, who was playing golf on the day of the attack, that she felt uncomfortable with the pit bulls.
“He told me not to worry as they were playing with me as they were only puppies and needed to get used to my scent. I fed them at 2pm, and they went out to play, but when they returned, they were all over me. I became even more concerned after they started biting me,” she said.
When her shift ended, Ms Mkosi walked outside to leave and that is when one of the dogs bit at her bag. “They started to bite my legs and I fell to the ground. They bit at my head, arms and started ripping my clothes.”
Once on the ground, she lay on her stomach with her hands covering her ears in attempt to fend off the dogs.
“They wanted to bite my ears and throat. I started crying and called out for help. A neighbour appeared and sprayed water on them to get them off me, but it didn’t help. He then fired four warning shots into the air, but that also did not deter them,” she said.
Ms Mkosi said she had heard the police arriving but they were too scared of the dogs to come onto the stoep where she was being attacked.
“The neighbour then threw meat over the wall and the dogs went for it. They asked me to roll toward the gate before the dogs came back. The dogs were completely covered in my blood,” she said.
She was taken to Karl Bremer Hospital and then to Groote Schuur Hospital, where she stayed until Thursday August 3.
Asked how she was doing on Monday August 11, Ms Mkosi said she was still in a lot of pain.
“I can’t sleep and the pain tablets they gave me at the hospital are finished. I keep picturing the dogs over me. They operated on my leg, but I am still healing and can’t walk properly. I am the sole breadwinner of my household as my children are unemployed. My daughter, Pamela is taking care of me,” she said.
Ms Mkosi said her boss had since given her R1 500 towards her hospital bills.
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokeswoman Belinda Abraham said the pit bulls had since been “humanely put to sleep”.
“When it comes to dogs, the greatest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any dog that bites should be destroyed, in this case, it was the best and most responsible course of action,” said Ms Abraham.
She said it was very shocking that two puppies that young could inflict such serious injuries.
“The owners of any of the so-called ‘power’ or ‘guard dog’ breeds need to ensure that their dogs are well socialised as young puppies and that they are well trained using positive reinforcement methods. Puppy-socialisation classes are a must. Part of being a responsible pet owner is researching and understanding breeds before you acquire an animal.
“Be sure that you know everything you need to know about these breeds before you make a decision. Owners who are not prepared to invest heavily of their time and resources in training their dogs, should not consider any of these breeds. Too many pet owners are failing their animals by not understanding and meeting their needs,” Ms Abraham said.
Asked how many people had been mauled by pit bulls since the start of the year, she said: “We are aware of many dog attacks on adults and children alike – at least two of these attacks were fatal”.
Just last week, three children were left in a critical condition after being attacked by pit bulls in Atteridgeville in Pretoria.
And in June, a Khayelitsha girl, 6, was left with a severely scarred face after a pit bull attack.
Ms Abraham said there was no register of dog attacks, but they did keep record of the number of dogs impounded for exhibiting aggressive behaviour.
“Law Enforcement brought 167 dogs to us this year and 54 of them were impounded after either attacking other dogs or people,” she said.
Richard Bosman, executive director for City safety and security, said the City’s animal control unit dealt with dog attacks in accordance with the Animal By-law 2010.
The unit would have to establish whether there was a prima facie contravention of the by-law.
“This includes taking affidavits from complainant/s and witnesses, completing a checklist of the premises where the dog is kept, obtaining photographs and medical records of the injuries sustained, and collecting any other evidence.”