Wife saves octogenarian husband mauled by dogs
James Jackson Haggart, 81, underwent reconstructive surgery at St Augustine’s Hospital where he is recovering.
He was attacked last Friday by the dogs which escaped from his neighbour’s yard.
Recalling the incident, he said the attack happened quickly.
When his wife, June, 79, had returned home, he opened the gate for her to drive in.
“I was closing the gate when, out of the blue, two dogs jumped on me. I had a scuffle with them on the ground. I tried to protect my head with my hands. They were lunging at me. I was not aware they were biting chunks of flesh off me.
“My wife pulled them off. I can’t remember much thereafter except coming into hospital,” he said.
June said she was not aware of what was going on because she had been parking the car. When she came around, she heard him scream and saw the dogs on him.
“One half of the gate was open. So, I think they ran in after the car and before he could close the gates. His head was covered in blood and they were attacking him. I dropped whatever I had in my hands and tried to pull the dogs off him. They did not have collars, so, I could not get a good grip,” she explained.
“I pushed at them, but they knocked me down. I got up quickly. They were not interested in me. They wanted his head. I began kicking them. They broke their hold on him and I pulled him away,” said June.
The neighbourhood watch, said June, had notified the owner of the dogs. They visited Haggart in hospital.
They were not aware of what happened to the dogs after the attack.
Dr O’Sharran-Roy Singh, a plastic surgeon who attended to Haggart, said he dealt with at least two dog bite wounds a week.
“Children and adults need to be taught how to be around dogs and how to approach them. Dogs should not be surprised. Their natural instinct will be to attack.
“Dogs should only be tied up on a leash when visitors arrive and if you do not have secure fencing,” he said.
Haggart had lacerations to his ears, lips, scalp, nose and hands. Singh said Haggart lost the cartilage in his ears and his lower lip was bitten off.
These had to be reconstructed. In addition, Singh repaired Haggart’s nose, upper lip and scalp as well as wounds on his arms and legs. He went into theatre for three hours, Singh said.
The Haggarts have two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Haggart worked as a fitter and turner and an air conditioner maintenance man for a textile company.
Lisa Morck, of the Kloof and Highway SPCA, said the SPCA collected the dogs, two male cross boerboels, and humanely euthanised them on Friday at the owner’s request.