Physically and emotionally scarred Monte Vista residents Johan Liebenberg and Fabiola Marques with their traumatised dog Winston. Picture: Supplied
Physically and emotionally scarred Monte Vista residents Johan Liebenberg and Fabiola Marques with their traumatised dog Winston. Picture: Supplied

WATCH: Monte Vista couple upset by 'lack of action' after brutal attack by pitbulls

By Staff Writer Time of article published Dec 20, 2019

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Cape Town – Two physically and emotionally scarred Monte Vista residents are incensed that the City of Cape Town and the police have failed to take action more than two months after they were attacked by two American pitbulls in a park.

Johan Liebenberg, 53, and his partner, Fabiola Marques, 46, had taken her Jack Russell-cross for a walk at a park opposite the Monte Vista Primary School at around 6.20pm on October 11 when they first had to fend off an attack from one pitbull on their dog, before another pitbull joined in.

Liebenberg has been left with no mobility in his left index finger, incurring medical costs of R4 000. 

Marques, who tried to protect their dog by covering it with her body, had to have stitches inserted in both hands. She was in hospital for two days and her medical aid covered the R19 000 in costs.

Their dog, Winston, was bitten on the neck, buttocks and in the corner of his eye, incurring over R6 000 in vet expenses. 

What has further upset the couple is that the owner of the dog, Dylan Williams, has not apologised to them for the incident.

The incident was captured on CCTV and while one pitbull was easily prised out of harm's way, it took some time to subdue the other pitbull.

"When a pittbull locks its jaws on something, they cannot just be pulled away," Liebenberg said.

Marques said: "I initially sent Dylan Williams the account and I gave him five days to pay. My intention was never to have the dogs removed but just for him to say sorry and for accountability for what he had done. 

"Then he went to the Panorama clinic and actually questioned the vet about what care he had given the dog to save his life. To date, he has never said he was sorry.

"That has worried me the most because each time I see Winston, I realise he got away with it. Every time we walk now, I am on edge all the time.

"I know that he cares for his dogs, but if I was in his shoes, I would try to do anything to at least say I am sorry so that the dogs won't be removed. 

"We are walking on Monte Vista boulevard because we are too scared to walk past people's houses, because what if they open their gates and a dog is going to come out? 

"I don't go near any parks any more. It will take us forever to get over something like this."

Liebenberg said: "The owner had indicated he would pay R1 200 towards the vet bill, but he still hasn't paid it. We are busy with lawyers and he has been sent a letter of demand, which he ignored and now he is getting a summons.

"I can't use my finger 100 percent – I can't close it and I can't straighten it."

Recalling what had led to the incident, Liebenberg said: "As soon as they saw us in the park, they let both pitbulls off their leads and directed them at us. They laughed, finding it entertaining, as we tried to get away. 

"Fabiola is unable to watch the footage and used her body to protect her dog, which was being pulled apart by two pit bulls. The footage shows me being pulled down to the ground by one pit bull, but being bitten by both on the ground.

"They initially just stood there. Fabiola started shouting at them to get their dogs off. Only then did they come running. 

"I fought the first dog off and had to tell him (Williams) to hold it away. The second dog, I had to empty a whole can of pepper spray in the dog's face, without any effect. 

"I had to jam the can into its mouth to have him release our dog.

"Our witness wanted to start a fight with them as they were told to 'stay away from the park'.

Fabiola Marques was in hospital for two days after the traumatic incident. Picture: Supplied

"I would like to have had some more action from the authorities after more than two months. Other people are at risk of being attacked because we are the second couple that have been bitten by the same dogs.

"The owner is not walking his dogs in that park any more, so his dogs can obviously now bite someone in another park."

Western Cape police spokesperson Siyabulelo Malo confirmed to the Cape Times that a case of grievous bodily harm has been opened for investigation.  

"The case is still under investigation and the are no arrests that have been made as yet," Malo said on Thursday.

Liebenberg laid a complaint with the City Ombudsman in October after being disappointed by the investigating officers' lack of response. The couple had also tried to see if the SPCA and local ward councillor could intervene, but to no avail.

Responding to an email Liebenberg sent, Johan van Schalkwyk, Area Manager: Area North, Law Enforcement, Traffic and Coordination, wrote in an email on Wednesday, copied to one of the investigating Law Enforcement officers, Hubert Geybe, among others: "See mail below regarding security footage of the Pitbull’s attack.  

Picture: Supplied

"This dog should have been impounded long ago. I need feedback ASAP."

After a Cape Times enquiry, Geybe sent an email to Van Schalkwyk indicating officers had gone to the pitbull owner's home to impound the dogs at the weekend.

"On Saturday, 14th (December) at approximately 10h00 members of the pound lead (sic) by officer T Syster, accompanied office L Smith to the offenders residence with the intention to impound the dogs. 

"Unfortunately the owners refused to allow entrance and therefore it could not be effected. 

"Will now will have to initiate other avenues to impound these dogs. I will keep you abreast of activities as and when they occur."

Calls to Williams went unanswered, but in an earlier interview with the Tygerburger he denied encouraging the attack and said he had also tried to stop the scuffle.

"Why would I encourage the dog to do it? I took my dog off (the) leash because he is a friendly dog. 

"When he sees other dogs, he wants to go and greet them. He saw their dog and ran across the field. 

"They got scared and picked up their dog and started kicking my dog. The guy fell down."

He indicated in the interview that he was willing to pay a portion of the vet's bill.

Cape Times

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