Neighbour Nolan Deerling tried desperately to save Fantasia Heneker from the pit bull terrier in Ravensmead. Picture: Tracey Adams/ANA
Cape Town - Neighbours of a four-month-old baby who was mauled by a pit bull terrier have described in detail how they tried to save the infant from a horrific death.

But it was too late for tiny Fantasia Heneker, who died in a neighbour’s arms.

The baby was attacked by the dog at her home in 10th Avenue in Ravensmead on Saturday and was apparently dragged from her bed while her mom, Robina Abramse, was hanging washing.

Robina was not available for comment on Wednesday as she was busy preparing for her baby’s funeral.

According to neighbours, the dog didn’t belong to anyone and was brought to the property by “someone”.

The dog, which residents have named “Gums” and “Killer”, had been kept on a leash behind a closed gate on the property.

It is not clear how it managed to escape.

A neighbour says it was still wearing the leash when they tried to get it off Fantasia.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Brenda Abraham confirmed the dog was a pit bull terrier, and that it was euthanised.\

The dog was euthanised. Picture: Supplied

Nolan Deerling, 39, a Rastafarian, says he had been smoking dagga when he heard his friend Brendan Combrink’s desperate cries for help and grabbed a spade.

He lives next door with his brother-in-law.

He says Fantasia died in his arms as he rushed with her to Elsies River Day Hospital.

“I was smoking a pyp in the backyard when Brendan came running in saying the baby had been bitten by the dog. I grabbed a spade and when we rushed inside the bedroom, the dog had the child,” says a Deerling.

“We were hitting it with a spade, probably three times, and we threw stones at it. When my friend pulled at the dog, I managed to grab the child.

“Her forehead had a V-like tear and the brains were coming out of the back of her head, I knew she was dead. We rushed her to hospital and later we heard the child is dead.

“That dog looked like it had two heads, it looked like a demon, bloodthirsty, and it would not let go,” he says, shuddering.

Combrink was bitten on the finger as he tried to force the dog’s mouth open.

Captain FC van Wyk says an inquest docket has been opened for investigation.