A 68-year-old security guard, was mauled to death by four pit bulls at business premises along Sherwood Crescent, Waterfalls, on Monday.
He was found dead with multiple injuries all over his body.
Pit bulls have been in the news in South Africa after a series of deadly attacks on humans by the dogs. There have been revenge attacks on the dogs and politicians have called for their ban – tapping into a history of dogs being used by their white owners to intimidate and attack black South Africans.
Whatever the state decides to do now, the public must realise that previously other breeds were also held to be too savage for South African society. In the 1920s, German shepherds – or so-called “wolf dogs” – were considered a scourge. There were later waves of concern over boerboels.
In the winter of 1983, hackles were raised when the town of Parow tried to ban rottweilers, dobermans, bull terriers and mastiffs. Vets were quick to point out that Labradors and Pekinese were responsible for most bites though. In fact, any power breed (strong, muscular frame, broad head, bite-and-hold fighting tactic) and, indeed, most dogs can inflict harm or death to a human.
There are long term legislative actions that can be taken. The first is breed specific legislation (banning certain breeds), the other is dangerous dog laws (which target bad behaviour rather than bad breeds).