A former Cape Town woman living in Uitenhage survived a horror attack by a dog on Thursday – but lost her arm, which had to be amputated.
Heila Greeff, 49, was walking down Sir Thomas Muir Drive in an upmarket residential area of the town just before 8am when a boerboel which had escaped from its owner’s property charged at her.
Mandy Tuck, who said she heard Greeff’s screams outside her home, was one of the first to arrive on the scene, just next to the sportsfields of Muir College. Tuck said she recognised the dog, Mufasa, as belonging to her neighbour, Adriaan Benecke.
When she got there Benecke’s father-in-law Piet Kapp, 81, was desperately trying to wrestle the dog off Greeff.
Lynton Gouws, a teacher from Muir College who happened to be driving past the scene, was flagged down by a bystander.
“When I arrived, the attack had been going on for a good 15 minutes,” he said. “But the dog was still crazed and was not letting go. It was biting and shaking the woman’s arm.
The whites of its eyes had gone red.”
At that stage Gouws said another man was trying to deter the dog by shocking it with a cattle prod. Gouws tried to pull the dog off with his hands. The dog did not let go.
“I saw the dog get shocked three times, but that only made it more aggressive in my opinion.”
Eventually Gouws managed to drive the dog off Greeff by beating it with a cricket bat. He led the dog back into its owner’s property and returned to comfort Greeff.
She was made to lie still and covered with blankets.
“We did not know the extent of the damage, so we did not want to move her,” said Gouws. “In those minutes that I spent with her, I realised what an incredible person she was. She was very calm, her mind is incredibly strong. I talked to her and she lay there asking me questions. Then her husband arrived, and I stepped back. She’s a real hero.”
Greeff’s husband, André Greeff, is a medical doctor in the town. His receptionist said this morning that he did not want to comment yet.
Deon Combrink, of Uitenhage’s SPCA, told the Cape Argus he was called to the scene after the attack and that the owner had requested that the dog be euthanased.
The police have launched an investigation into the attack.
“We have opened a case of ‘keeping a ferocious dog’ and are currently taking statements from eyewitnesses and other people who were close to the attack,” said Uitenhage police spokeswoman Lietenant Colonel Priscilla Naidu. “No one has been charged. We will compile a docket and send it to a prosecutor who will then decide whether someone should be prosecuted.”
Walter Kurten, the general manager at Netcare Cuyler Hospital, confirmed this morning that Heila Greeff, 49, sustained serious injuries and underwent surgery shortly after being admitted on Thursday morning.
“She is in a stable condition, but the family has requested that we not comment further,” he said.