Aubrey Murphy, 56, and little Emma Murphy, 3, were saved by neighbours who heard their blood-curdling cries for help.
The two both underwent surgery on Tuesday night, and are currently in the intensive care unit.
The police and Cape of Good Hope SPCA were called to Garlandale Crescent in Athlone just before 5pm on Tuesday.
The SPCA’s Belinda Abraham has confirmed four dogs were removed from a neighbour’s yard: “We can confirm that four dogs were removed from an Athlone residence on Tuesday night following an alleged attack on a child and an adult male.”
Emma had to undergo a six-hour operation at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, after suffering injuries to her head, face and eyes.
Both her eyes are intact but half of her skull had been ripped off, her family said on Wednesday.
The little girl is expected to undergo reconstructive and plastic surgery.
Aubrey’s arm was nearly ripped off, and he also has severe bite marks on his body. He is being treated at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands.
Emma’s maternal grandfather, Cliff Augustyn, 58, says Aubrey had been home looking after his twin granddaughters.
Aubrey was inside the house with Emma and her twin sister Kate when he heard a commotion outside. It is believed little Emma followed him when he went to investigate.
It is believed Kate stood at the doorway and the dogs did not attack her.
Cliff says the dogs first went for Emma and when Aubrey tried to get them off her, they turned on him.
Neighbours who heard Emma’s cries for help called the police and tried to stop the dogs.
“The neighbours were alerted by Emma’s screams and one neighbour broke part of the fence to get here,” says Cliff.
“When my daughter Tracey [Murphy] called me, she thought Aubrey would not make it, the skin and flesh was hanging off his arm.”
“Emma had to be sedated for the pain and Aubrey is in a stable condition."
“Part of Emma’s scalp was ripped off.”
The family has requested that no images of Emma be published.
Meanwhile, Belinda says the confiscated dogs will be cared for at the SPCA until a decision has been made about their fate.
“The City’s by-laws state that a dog which has been seized or impounded and which is found by the authorised official to be ferocious, vicious or dangerous, may be destroyed.”
The Daily Voice visited the home of the dog owners, but no one answered the door.