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Durban - As two pitbull terriers mauled his leg, a cyclist thought his life was over, but a Good Samaritan pulled her car alongside him, hooting and shouting in a bid to chase the dogs off their victim.
Gerard Whittal, 64, was on his way to work in Jacobs from his Bluff home on Thursday riding the same route he has ridden for seven years - when he noticed the gates of a house in Watsonia Road, which has three dogs, was open.
Although surprised, he rode on past, but two of the home’s three dogs “came out of nowhere” and went for him.
One grabbed his boot while the other sank its teeth into his leg, dragging him off his bike and into the road.
The third stood in the driveway and watched.
“I was screaming for help but no one could hear me. The dog tore into my leg while the other would not let my safety boot go,” said Whittal.
A motorist then pulled up alongside him and tried to distract the animals by hooting and shouting, but they continued their attack.
The lady was persistent and the dogs eventually let me go and ran back inside their yard,” he said.
The woman then got out her car and helped Whittal to his feet.
“She was very caring and sweet. If it was not for her, I could be seriously injured or even dead, because those dogs were not going to let go,” said Whittal.
His rescuer did not stop there and kindly offered to drive him to a hospital.
But, reeling from shock, he declined and got back onto his bike.
The lady drove next to Whittal for a short distance while he rode to ensure that the dogs did not come back for him.
He thanked her and went to work.
But he had not realised how serious his wounds were, and his sister fetched him and drove him to Wentworth Hospital. Nurses dressed his wound and gave him injections, he said.
The dogs’ owners had certificates showing the animals had been vaccinated for rabies, he found out later.
Whittal said he had not opened a police case because the owners said they would pay his medical bills, and apologised for the incident.
They also promised to take the dogs to the SPCA to be put down, he said.
Whittal now longs to find the lady who helped him and thank her properly.
Meanwhile, the eThekwini Municipality has put out a rabies alert to people living in Folweni, south of Durban.
A dog that was killed by residents this week after it had bitten four people has tested positive for rabies.
The victims were treated at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi.