A pit bull. Picture: Pinterest

*** Warning - this story contains graphic images ***

Harstwater - A man's hand has been amputated and his body is covered in horrific scars after being mauled by three vicious dogs as he walked down the streets.

The dogs, two pitbulls and a boerboel, cross were roaming the streets after their owners allegedly left their cages and the gate open.

Botshelo Ramolemogi, 46, of Harstwater in the Northern Cape has been in hospital since November 26 after he was mauled by the dogs that refused to let go despite a horrified community trying to separate them from him.

A gruesome video, taken after the attack, shows a shell shocked Ramolemogi sitting on a hospital bed. His body is covered in open wounds and what is left of his right hand is a stump.

He is not saying anything and his stomach is rising up and down with each breath he takes.

According to his sister, Kgalalelo, his brother was on his way to visit a friend in a place called Thaga Dia Ipela when the dogs attacked him.

The scars on Botshelo Ramolemogi's body show just how the dogs viciously attacked him.

"I was told that the dogs not only bit him but they also dragged him for some distance. The community tried to help my brother, hitting the dogs with stick and shovels as well as hurling rocks at them. However, the dogs refused to let go and kept biting him.

"At some point someone suggest that they call minibus taxis to pretend as if they would run the dogs over, to scare them.

"Two taxis came and they started revving their engines. That was the only time that the dogs got scared and left. Someone then came with a blanket and put it over my brother and he was rushed to the hospital."

The heartbroken Kgalalelo, 59, said she was pained by what she saw when she arrived at the hospital; her beloved brother unable to even move his hands. 

What hurt more, she said, was the attitude of the owners of the dogs whom she said did not even apologise to the family nor show that they were affected by what happened.

She said while the woman arrived at the hospital to check on her brother, she was very indifferent to the situation.

The husband, she said, called her and was very rude.

"He said to me that no one will take his dogs away from him," Kgalalelo said.

According to Kgalalelo, this incident comes shortly after her brother had just removed a cast on his leg, something that had cost him his job as a security guard.

She said his brother had tripped and fallen which led to him staying six weeks at home as he had been unable to walk. When he removed the  cast, he went back to work only to be told that he did not have a job anymore, she said.

"Now he does not have a hand anymore; this is very painful. It will take time for him to accept what happened.This means that he will now depend on us. He will now have to come and live with us," she said.

Kgalalelo said the dogs' viciousness was known in the area and that it had been said that his brother was not their first victim but rather the third.

A stump is what remains of Botshelo Ramolemogi's right hand after two pitbulls and a boerboel cross attacked him.

However, the police could not confirm other attacks.

Spokesperson for the Northern Cape Police, Lieutenant Colonel Dimakatso Mooi confirmed that a case of Failure to Keep an Animal From Harming Another Human Being had been opened against the owners.

"We only know of this case and can't confirm if the dogs had bitten other people before," Mooi said.

Asked whether the owners had appeared in court yet, Mooi said the docket was before the prosecutor and the matter was still being investigated.

The Star spoke to Suzette Pieterse, the owner of the dogs but all she was prepared to say is: "No comment. I was not at home at the time. Give me your number and I will get my husband to call you."

The dogs are currently under the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Kimberly .

Chantell Jaftha, Assistant Manager for SPCA Kimberly said they had received a call from the police to go and remove the dogs from the owners.

Asked whether the dogs would be put down after such a vicious attack on Ramolemogi, Jaftha said she could not comment on that.

"The dogs are in our care and they have not shown any sign of viciousness towards our workers. We are taking care of them and waiting for further instructions from the police," Jaftha said.