Shantel Pillay was mauled to death by six pit bulls in February last year. Picture: Supplied
Durban - A man linked to what police describe as a notorious Phoenix drug den was taken into custody for questioning on Thursday after two people suffered horrific deaths when they were mauled by a pack of dogs.

The disfigured bodies of the victims, who have yet to be identified, were found last Thursday in a nearby stream.

In February last year, the mutilated body of a woman, Shantel Pillay, 29, was found in the same stream just metres away from the alleged drug den. She had apparently been mauled by a pack of six pit bulls.

According to a police source, residents had contacted Phoenix SAPS after noticing a body of an Indian male in the stream last week.

“Phoenix SAPS as well as Search and Rescue responded. The deceased was badly bitten; chunks of flesh were taken out from his arms, thighs, back of his head and his left eye was out,” said the source. 

“Minutes after the body was removed, residents alerted SAPS on the scene to another body, that of a naked African male, which was further up the stream.”

The source said he had similar injuries to the first victim.

“We called in the SPCA and the SAPS K9 Unit who confirmed that the injuries were bite marks from a dog, but they could not specify what type of dog.”

The source said that the SPCA had removed the dogs from the man’s care for further examinations. Fingerprints of the deceased have been taken in order to identify them.

“During the early hours of Tuesday morning, Phoenix SAPS with Colonel Rajack arrested the man. He has not been charged as yet and has been taken in for questioning.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said a case of culpable homicide had been opened for investigation.

POST had reported last year on the attack on Pillay, an addict who had frequented the drug den where police had conducted several raids over the years.

The dogs had ripped into her, biting off chunks of flesh from her legs, neck, chest and arms.

While police had been investigating a case of culpable homicide, no one was arrested.

At the time of the incident, her parents, Roy and Judy Pillay, said too many lives were being destroyed by drugs, and authorities needed to take action.

“Our youth are being drawn into drugs and nothing is being done to stop these criminals. Police need to work harder in order to close down their operations,” Roy had said. “Burying or cremating a child is the worst thing any parent could go through.”

Phoenix CPF chairperson Umesh Singh welcomed Thursday’s development.

He appealed to anyone with information to come forward.