Owner probed after dogs bite two toddlers

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dog bit girl

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Two-year-old Meeka Riley Lackay with her mother Chanell. Meeka was attacked by a Rottweiler at a Clifton beach. Photo: David Ritchie

A man who calls himself the “Dog Shaman” is under investigation by the City’s Specialised Law Enforcement Services after his Rottweiler mauled a toddler at a Clifton beach on Wednesday.

On his website called “Good Dog – join the pack” James Lech claims he is able to rehabilitate dogs by using a technique which he says incorporates a dog’s fundamental needs.

However, this is the second time one of his Rottweilers has attacked a toddler.

On Monday, Lech was walking his dogs on Clifton’s First Beach when his Rottweiler attacked two-year-old Meeka Riley Lackay from Bridgetown in Athlone.

Last year, the Sunday Times reported that one of Lech’s Rottweilers mauled a four-year-old at a restaurant in Hyde Park shopping centre in Johannesburg on July 11.

On his website, it states: “James believes no one should ever be aggressive, hit or yell at a dog to correct its behaviour or stop it from doing something.

“Instead, James advocates that fulfilling the dog’s primary needs like exercise, discipline and then affection, in that order, in a calm assertive state of energy, will ensure balance and good behaviour.”

It also says Lech is a regular guest on the morning TV show Expresso on SABC 3 and on the Radio 702 Pet Care Line show.

In the Johannesburg incident, video footage of the scene reportedly showed the child running into a restaurant when the Rottweiler attacked. She sustained minor injuries.

When the Cape Times contacted Lech on Thursday he said: “I have been advised not to talk to anyone about this matter.”

Lackay’s aunt Liska October, who was with her at the time, said she had turned her back briefly while playing with her niece near the water.

“When I turned back, I saw three Rottweilers. One grabbed Meeka and dragged her away. I immediately jumped to cover her face because I was so scared it would bite her there,” she said. “The dog’s owner came and took the dog away. A lady who said she was a doctor came to help us.”

It would be difficult to forget the image of her niece being mauled by a dog, she added.

Lackay’s parents, Chanell Riley Lackay and Keagan Peters, comforted their daughter in hospital on Thursday.

Chanell Lackay said Meeka was still in a lot of pain after more than four hours of surgery on Wednesday evening.

“They washed out her wounds and continued with plastic surgery. The doctors told us she had 11 bites with bruising. They said the dog’s tooth just missed a major artery. If it went any further she could have been paralysed for the rest of her life.”

Lackay was discharged from Cape Town Mediclinic on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, authorities have urged dog owners to walk their pets in demarcated areas or face being fined.

The city’s Specialised Law Enforcement Services spokesman, Neil Arendse, said Lech was fined R1 500 for walking the dog illegally.

“In terms of section six of the 2010 Animal by-law, which prohibits people from keeping dogs that are a danger to the public, he may also face charges of assault by the child’s family.”

Arendse said that, because Clifton was one of the city’s blue flag beaches, no dogs were allowed, especially during the summer season.

“The dog was impounded and taken to the city’s animal pound in Atlantis. It will be handed over to the SPCA and further investigation will continue,” he said.

Arendse said 20 dogs had already been impounded, of which 10 were put down, since the by-law was enforced.

No dogs were allowed on the beach in the early morning and late evening from November to April.

barbara.maregele@inl.co.za - Cape Times


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Anon, wrote

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12:10pm on 17 January 2012
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I was on Muizenberg beach on 16 Jan 2012 and saw a pitbull attack and bite a yound boy. Just before the incident, the dog has broken free from its leash - something which took only a shake of its head. The dog handler did not seem worried about this and walked nonchalantly away to chat to the woman that accompanied him. Shortly, and I mean very very shortly, after the incident the handler and the entire group of friends he came with, disappeared from the scene with their dogs. The level of responsibility that people show towards their pets is appalling... how can you let your dogs run free in a public place knowing that they may attack? Imagine how bad it is for someone to go to a beach with the intention of having a good time, and end up getting mauled. The dog owner handler NEVER gets bitten by their own dog so therefore, as long as they're safe, they feel its their God-given right to have their dangerous animals running around hurting other people.

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Anonymous, wrote

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08:58pm on 16 January 2012
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wiches dog is like weapon - if dog attcak or kill, owner is fully respoosable - must go ti jail, and dog must be put down. And please stop with weird pets animal protection rubbish - aninals belong to nature, not to house....ther is more unprotected childs than anything else in Africa - take and protect humans instead of dogs and cats, you...

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Tim, wrote

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11:49am on 16 January 2012
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I was at varsity with this Lech clown and he is completely delusional - he also claims to be the CEO of a multi-national alternative energy corporation (amongst other things). Spread the word - the man is a fraud!!

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:47am on 16 January 2012
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Following the dogfight ring bust in Plett makes me wonder if this guy didn't help train their pitbulls. Hopefully, arresting the gov official, Ferdie Endemann, pitbull breeder and avid dog fighter will send a strong message to these animal abusers. My dogs get food, exercise and more love than they know what to do with and they are completely happy and non aggro, one is a rotty-collie cross, both rescued from shelters.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:26am on 14 January 2012
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The poor little girl looks truly traumatized, I hope Lech will also pay for her counselling...Also, how do people actually manage to run such fruity businesses without any recognised certification. Anyone with common sense would know if you allow a Rottweiler to grow up untamed you cannot take it for walks in public places. The dog was just acting on pure instinct, which would be expected.

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Anonymous, wrote

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09:01am on 14 January 2012
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James Lech thinks he can get rich quick by claiming to be a dog shaman!! He obviously has no clue and should be sued by this family. He should also not be allowed to take money from the public for attempting to rehabilitate aggresive dogs.

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Vigilante, wrote

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05:27am on 14 January 2012
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I put it to him that them dogs must be put down down! Attacking kids not once but twice is too many times and if something is not done next the dogs are going to maul someone's child to death- then what?? Why some people keep Rottweilers with their history of viciousness beats me! I think the dog's owner needs his head examined.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:40pm on 13 January 2012
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Lech is a lech for misrepresenting himself. He should not just be fined but also be prohibited from owning dogs as well. Cleary he is no expert and why should the dogs be put down each time an incident occurs. He is the problem and he has not learned anything from the previous encounter. I hope this little girl recovers fully.

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Glendor, wrote

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09:17pm on 13 January 2012
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This dude should be dealt with! The question is, will he be?

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Anonymous, wrote

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05:06pm on 13 January 2012
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I thought it was illigal not to have a dog on a leash in public? Or at least muzzled? I don't know enough to comment beyond that but that would be my thought.

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Anonymous, wrote

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04:23pm on 13 January 2012
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This is a very terrible incident, however this shock and horror about a dog biting a child is being sensationalized and many people feel the doganimal should be killed due to its actions .How many children get killed, molested, abused and neglected in this country? Way too many, and this is being perpetrated by very sick individuals. Why don’t we kill them? People can’t be rehabilitated, animals can! I really get furious when these hicks post comments of killing animals due to hurting people, my goodness how many animal attacks happen out there, insignificant compared to the amount of humans that hurt humans and animals.

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@Lech, wrote

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04:04pm on 13 January 2012
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Wow...Lech, what an eloquent comeback. Regardless of the 'dog whisperer issue', I still only have one word for you: LEASH. None of this would have happended then, eh?

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Rottie, wrote

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03:26pm on 13 January 2012
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I have two Rotties and I'm always very quick to defend the breed against negative publicity and regularly check news reports on 'vicious' Rottweiler attacks. When I first read the article last year about the toddler attacked in the shopping center, I immediately sided against the child (knowing how they are quite fond of teasing dogs) - however, after watching the CCTV footage it was 100% clear that Mr Lech was taking complete rubbish about what caused his dog to attack. The animal was clearly focused on the child and completely unprovoked. I suspect the same thing has happened here and everyone excluding Mr Lech is suffering (dog, child, family, responsible dog owners who are probably feeling the backlash etc. etc.) Yet this person will still make money peddling his dog psychology mumbo jumbo.

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Roy, wrote

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03:04pm on 13 January 2012
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Sue him and make him pay for not having a leash on the dog. He should not have had the dogs on the beach. What a p**pol.

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Anonymous, wrote

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03:01pm on 13 January 2012
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James Lech should first learn to understand the difference between a human being and an animal, in this case,a rottweiler. A human being has intelligence which can be applied when making decisions or determine how heshe should act, whereas an animal's actions are dictated by its inherent nature, it cannot decide what is right or wrong (in simple words). The animal acts instinctively. If James cannot understand this basic point, he is no less than an animal. So instead of trying to train an animal, he should first educate himself. Don't be a vicious Rotweiler, James Idiot

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:59pm on 13 January 2012
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if that was my child this fraud would have caught a beating!

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:58pm on 13 January 2012
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Mr Lech, I blame you, through your irresponsible actions your poor dog has to be put down. I feel feathers for you, but I do feel very sorry for the dog as this animal does not remember what it did. And I am not a dog whisperer, but a huge animal activist!

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Tigga, wrote

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02:51pm on 13 January 2012
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They should press criminal charges against this fraud. If somebody doesn't stop him from endangering toddlers then this is bound to happen again. I hope the parents of this latest victim and the authorities litigate him to the fullest extend of the law. 2 times is 1 at the very least 1 time too many. What will it take for the government to protect its citizens? A dead toddler? Enough is enough, please stop this moron. Disgusting how his dogs particularly target children!!

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GF, wrote

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02:49pm on 13 January 2012
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It is illegal to take a dog outside your own property unless it is on a lead, FULL STOP. Unfortunately the maximum fine is probably only a few hundred rand. Be good if the parents could sue this idiot for trauma, medical costs and anything else. Maybe they would need someone to assist them.

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:48pm on 13 January 2012
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We know the comment from Lech is not real since he is a coward and will only speak through his lawyer. Wont face up and apologise for his animals. Guess whose business took a dive doo da doo da guess who will no longer be invited doo da doo da die

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