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“We are traumatized and need counseling”: Grandfather of a 3-year-old boy killed by two pit bulls

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A three-year-old boy from Phomolong in the Free State was mauled to death by two pit bull terriers.

PHOTO: Alfonso Nqunjana, News24

  • The grandfather of 3-year-old Keketso Saule, who was mauled to death by two pit bull terriers, he said the community was traumatized by the attack.
  • He said the boy’s grandmother was the first family member to see his bloody body at his neighbor’s house.
  • A local councilman said the pit bulls did not belong to the property owner.

“As the people of [Sekoti Mpate in] Phomolong, we are traumatized and need counselling. What we witnessed yesterday (Sunday) was a horrible spectacle.”

These were the words of Maitse Saule, the grandfather of three-year-old Keketso Innocent Saule, who was mauled to death by two pit bull terriers in Hennenman in the Free State on Sunday morning.

Saule told News24 on Monday that the boy’s grandmother, who was the first to identify the scattered parts of his body after the attack, was barely getting by.

“From what I saw, the dogs mutilated half of his face and head. We could see parts of his brain after the attack,” he said.

READ | SPCA staff attacked, pit bull burned to death, after boy, 3, killed

He added that Keketso’s friend who was with him during the attack was also traumatized after witnessing his friend’s death.

He too could have died if a neighbor hadn’t rescued him, Saule said. According to him, the two pit bulls did not belong to the owner of the property since they do not live in the area.

The property, he said, was being occupied by two tenants, one of whom had vicious pets. Saule said the municipality arranged to pick up Keketso’s mother, who received her first counseling session with a social worker on Monday.

He added that the municipality had promised to cover the costs of the funeral on Saturday.

District councillor, Pheello Nthuba, told News24 that the municipality and residents had promised donations, including a headstone, for Keketso’s funeral.

He said the tenant who had the pit bulls at the time of the attack did not own them, but had them temporarily to breed.

Nthuba said he advised her to report the attack to the police.

Saule Keketso

Keketso Saule was playing with other children when he was attacked and mauled to death by two pit bulls.

The attack drew the ire of residents, who attacked one of the dogs, beating it with garden shovels and rocks before setting it on fire.

Police and the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) responded to the scene and confiscated one of the pit bulls. The NSPCA euthanized the second dog.

According to NSPCA spokesperson Keshvi Nair, pit bulls are powerful breeds and therefore naturally vicious.

Compounding this is training them for dogfighting, which makes them uncontrollable and puts people at risk.

She said that while the NSPCA recognized the trauma and pain of losing loved ones to pit bull attacks, it was equally concerned about the violence inflicted on the pit bulls responsible for the attacks.

“Because of the emotional response that people can sometimes have when responding to attacks, they may resort to inhumane ways of coping.

“Sometimes these animals are stoned or doused with boiling water. We are not saying that it is okay to attack people, but the risks they are exposed to should also be investigated,” Nair said.

READ | Renewed warnings about pit bulls after another child dies

Police spokesman Captain Stephen Thakeng said police had opened an investigation file.

“An inquiry case has been registered for further investigation and there will be an additional charge under the Animal Amendment Act. A thorough investigation will be carried out into the circumstances that led to the two pit bulls killing the child,” Thakeng said.

The owner of the two dogs was arrested Monday and charged.

Thakeng said 21-year-old Lebohang Pali, also known as Mampudi, appeared before Hennenman Magistrate Court and was granted R300 bail. He will return to court on Wednesday.


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