Pit bull terriers maul owner

Published Nov 7, 2003


A South Coast pit bull terrier breeder who was mauled by his four dogs at the weekend, is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in Umlazi.

Charles Murray, 48, sustained serious injuries to his neck, stomach, arms and legs as well as broken ribs and bones. His left leg had to be amputated.

Murray was working on his car in the garden of his Margate home when the vehicle, which was suspended on supports, suddenly toppled and fell on to him. His three-year-old grandchild was playing in the car at the time.

His son, Charles Murray jnr, who formerly bred pit bulls, said: "When the car fell on him he screamed for help and the dogs attacked him.

"I'm not sure if maybe the baby let the emergency break down... I don't know."

Neighbour Rod Myburgh rushed to rescue Murray after his 14-year-old daughter Bodene had alerted him to the attack.

"My daughter was outside in the garden when she saw the car drop on him. The dogs went berserk... in a biting frenzy and were ripping him apart," he said.

"I rushed out and grabbed a large wooden pole and went into the yard and tried to beat the dogs off him. I hit the first one hard enough to break his back and it just turned around and looked at me and carried on attacking him."

Then the dogs turned on Myburgh, jumping on him and biting him. "I have punctures in my thigh muscle and one bit me in my neck when going for my jugular vein, which was visible when the doctor attended to me," Myburgh said.

Murray's wife, Marie, arrived and pulled her husband's pistol out of his hip holster and shot one of the dogs in the shoulder.

Myburgh said "the wounded dog backed off two steps" and then resumed attacking her husband.

She fired two more shots, injuring a second dog when her son Frank arrived. The dogs then ran into the house.

When Murray jnr arrived he opened the door, but quickly shut it again because the dogs "went for him" as if they were "mad in the head".

Murray was taken to the hospital by his son Frank in a critical condition after an ambulance failed to arrive within the hour.

The SAPS Dog Unit shot two dogs and the other two were taken to the SPCA where they were destroyed.

SPCA anti-cruelty inspector Eric Taljaard said: "Pit bulls are naturally aggressive dogs. I have had a lot of complaints about his dogs and I have warned him. He still has two pit bulls on the property with six puppies," Taljaard said.

Murray jnr said the family would stop breeding the dogs.

"It's just too much of a fright. I stopped breeding because I haven't got a facility and my dad took the dogs. They are so loving - he would carry the dogs around when it rained. They are so pampered they don't know what it is like to eat dog's pellets because they ate meat, liver and pap," said Murray jnr.

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