Pit bull mauled baby ‘for no reason’
Cape Town - A trail of blood, a pick axe, a heap of bloodied bricks, blood-smeared chairs and a broken broom tell the heartbreaking tale of little Faith Hendricks’ tragic fate at her home in Kalkoentjie Street, Mount Pleasant, on Friday morning.
Faith was killed after the family’s pit bull grabbed her by the neck and shook her about “like a ragdoll”.
She was rushed to hospital where she later died of her injuries.
Her grandmother, who was bitten when she tried to take the child from the dog, is still recovering in hospital from injuries to her arm and leg.
Faith’s heartbroken grandfather, Victor Hendricks, 61, said the tiny tot was playing in the backyard under the watchful eye of her granny Evelyn Hendricks, 53, when his dog, Bruno, suddenly broke loose from its chain.
“I don’t know exactly what happened but the dog must have broken loose and attacked her,” said the shocked man.
“Neighbours called me and when I came home I found my wife lying in the doorway.”
He added that the children were never allowed close to the dog.
Neighbour Cedric Hull, 36, said he heard shouts and what sounded like dogs fighting at about 10am.
When he rushed down the road and looked through the gates, he saw the dog shaking the defenceless meisie around by her neck.
“I felt so helpless because we couldn’t get in to help,” he said.
Neighbours threw bricks at the animal in an attempt to get it off the baby.
“When the granny tried to grab the baby, the dog bit her too,” said Hull.
That’s when cousin Victoria Hendricks managed to grab Faith and ran into the house with her.
Hull said people begged cops who arrived on the scene to shoot the dog but they allegedly refused.
“When Uncle Vicky (Victor) came, he managed to put the dog in the Animal Welfare’s van and they took it away,” said Hull.
The toddler’s father rushed with her to Hermanus Hospital where she later died.
Hermanus Animal Welfare Society’s Kennel and Clinic Manager Lenke Elferink said the badly injured dog, a type of pit bull crossbreed, had to be euthanised.
“The law states that an animal which causes injuries (to people) that require medical attention should be euthanised,” explained Lenke.
“Besides this the dog’s injuries, including a punctured lung, fractured chest, ruptured spleen and stab wound in the gut also necessitated it.”
Lenke said they received a number of calls from panicked people asking them to come out and put down similar types of dogs.
“People are very emotional because a child is involved and are now asking for innocent animals to be euthanised,” she said.
Instead she has called on owners to rather have their dogs sterilised to make them less aggressive.
Victor said he is glad his dog was put to sleep.
“Ek sou daai hond self vrekgemaak het (I would have killed that dog myself),” he said.
Captain FC van Wyk said according to reports, the dog attacked Faith “for no apparent reason”.
“She had bite marks on her body and head,” he added.
An inquest docket has been opened.
Evelyn was taken to Worcester Hospital where she underwent an operation to repair damage to her arm.
Victor said: “Haar arm het soos ‘n nat lap gehang (her arm was hanging like we cloth). But doctors said she is doing well after the operation.”
He added that his wife also had a hole in her leg where the dog bit her.
The grandfather said he is devastated after his granddaughter’s death.
“Ek kan baie harregat wees maar sy was my hart se punt (I can be very stubborn but she was my everything),” he said.
“I don’t even want to walk around because everybody wants to sympathise and I just can’t handle it.”