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Durban - The owners of three boerboel dogs, that attacked and mauled a postman in Newcastle this week, say they will have the animals put down at a veterinary surgery for the good of the community.
Mandla Kunene, was delivering post on Tuesday when the three dogs set upon him and mauled him for several minutes.
A passing motorist and a man from the neighbourhood, Mpumelelo Mdhluli, came to Kunene’s aid and drove off the dogs before calling for help.
Kunene, bitten on the head, arms and legs, was taken to the Medi Clinic Newcastle Hospital. There are fears he may lose his left ear.
Provincial police spokesman, Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said a case of keeping a ferocious dog was being investigated by the Newcastle SAPS.
The dog owners Erika Schultz, 25, and her fiancé, Herman Muller, 29, yesterday defended the animals, saying they were friendly and were not the vicious dogs everyone made them out to be.
They said their gate had been closed on the day of the attack and that the dogs may have been provoked by people who taunted the animals.
The family’s domestic worker, who did not want to be named, said she had walked past the gate after Schultz had left for work and the gate was closed.
They all agreed that someone must have opened the gate and provoked the dogs for them to attack in that manner.
The couple said the dogs were often teased by children in the community, who poked the dogs with sticks through the fence.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Kunene said the gate was slightly open when he left the post at the couple’s home.
He said he was a house away when the boerboels attacked him. “They forced me to the ground.
“I tried to get up and fight them, but they were strong, I was weak and I thought I was dying, then a car stopped and a woman tried to help me but they were still ripping into me.
“It hurts so bad,” said the 42-year-old.
“I cannot believe this happened to me, I am lucky to be alive… if it wasn’t for the social worker lady in the car and the young man with the (golf) stick, I’d be dead,” he said, containing his tears.
It was the first time Kunene had been attacked by dogs since he started delivering mail 10 years ago in the Newcastle area.
Kunene is a contracted employee and receives no benefits. It is unclear who will be paying his bills at the private hospital.
His head, left hand and right hand were bandaged and were the main areas the dogs had targeted during their mauling.
Schultz said killing the dogs was the only option they had, but maintained that they were provoked.
He showed pictures of the dogs with the couples’ children as proof of their docile nature.
“Even though I really don’t want them to die, I think it’s the best thing to do. They’ve tasted flesh now, they will want to do it again and probably attack someone else,” said Schultz.
Mdhluli, 22, who used a sand wedge to force the dogs away from Kunene, said he was sleeping when he heard a car hoot and the voice of an old man who was screaming “Msizeni” (help).
He said he grabbed the golf club because he could not stand and watch someone die.
“I think they only stopped attacking when a lot of cars were at the scene. They ran inside the house and then I went and closed the gate behind them,” he said.
“I am really angry at what I saw.
“If that was a child who was being attacked by those dogs, we would be talking of a death “ he said.
Lindile Hlangabezo, 28, a gardener who witnessed the incident, said the dogs were tearing into Kunene.
Newcastle SPCA spokeswoman, Heather Gero, said the Animal Matters Amendment Act had to be followed before the dogs were killed, and said the only person who could make that decision, was a magistrate.
However, the owners could voluntarily euthanise the animals.
“The message through this ordeal is that dog owners must ensure the animals are kept in a controlled environment.
“If you’re going to leave your home, make sure the animals are kept inside the property,” she said.