File picture: Bullit Marquez/AP

Durban - A Durban man has died after being mauled by pit bulls.

Morgan Athan, 59, from Merebank in Durban suffered severe injuries after being mauled by three pit bulls close to his home last Friday afternoon. He died in hospital on Monday and the funeral was held on Thursday.

He is the third person known to have died from being attack by dogs in KwaZulu-Natal since April.

His son, Jerome Moodley, said his father had walked to a house, believed to be a tavern, a short distance away from his home to buy beer around midday on Friday.

He said it seemed the gate to the yard where the pit bulls are kept had been left open and the dogs attacked him as he walked in.

Moodley said the attack lasted for between two and four minutes.

“People tried to remove the dogs - one broke a chair on them and another broke a pipe.

“My father suffered serious injuries to his forehead, to his ears, his arms, underneath his foot and the dogs bit him hard on the calf muscle - it was a severe attack.”

Moodley said he was unhappy that the dogs were not dealt with immediately.

“The attack happened on Friday but only on Tuesday did the people of the SPCA come and take the dogs away. We were concerned they might maul someone again.

“The owner of the property is now claiming that his house is not a shebeen and my dad was trespassing there. He had been going there for years.

“I love dogs and I keep a German shepherd. I do not know why someone would keep a pit bull,” he said.

“My dad was 59 years old and he was diabetic. It was unlikely he would have survived with the kind of injuries he suffered. I have since laid a charge with the police,” said Moodley.

A community activist who declined to be named said the reports he had received were that the house was a shebeen.

“The full report is that someone there was running an illegal shebeen and the man had gone to the yard to buy when he was attacked.”

Police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Gwala said an inquests docket had been opened.

“The man was walking along Lakhimpur Road when he was attacked by a dog. He was taken to hospital for medical attention where he succumbed to his injuries. An inquest docket is being investigated by Wentworth SAPS.”

The Mercury was unsuccessful in efforts to reach the dogs’ owner for comment at the time of publishing.

Mpho Mokoena was attacked by two adult Rottweilers and a bull mastiff in her backyard in Braithwaite Road, Montrose Pietermaritzburg in April.

Amukelani Bhengu, a 3-year-old uMlazi boy, was mauled to death by two pit bulls in May.

The dogs were later shot by police.

The Mercury