THE OWNER of the Rottweiler that mauled a two-year-old toddler on Clifton’s First Beach on Wednesday is a self-styled “dog whisperer”.
James Lech, of Camps Bay, owns a dog weight loss and rehabilitation clinic and claims on his website to be “a gifted and well-renowned dog behavioural specialist”.
But the attack on Meeka Riley Lackay of Athlone was the second incident in which Lech was involved.
In July last year it was reported that four-year-old Sadie Kukkuk was mauled by Lech’s Rottweiler inside Hyde Park shopping centre in Joburg. CCTV footage of the attack showed Sadie running past the dog in a restaurant, when it suddenly attacked her.
It is not known whether the same dog was involved in the Lackay attack.
When the Cape Argus visited Lech at his home last night he declined to comment.
Meeka underwent emergency surgery on Wednesday night at Mediclinic Cape Town after she was attacked by the Rottweiler, one of three unleashed dogs Lech was walking on the beach.
Meeka was walking on the beach with her aunt Liska October just after noon.
Meeka was discharged from the clinic yesterday afternoon.
Her mother Chanell Lackay, 25, said that she was “recovering well and was talking and sitting up, but still groggy from the surgery”.
“She is eating and out of the danger zone. The doctor said the dog’s teeth missed the main nerve in her leg by a millimetre, otherwise she would have been paralysed… she was extremely lucky.”
Lackay added that Meeka also needed stitches to an eyebrow.
Yesterday Kylie Hatton, the spokeswoman for the City of Cape Town, said Lech had contravened the regulations governing the walking of dogs on beaches.
“The City has taken action against him for this contravention.
“He has been fined R1 500 by law enforcement officers for walking the dog(s) illegally, and City’s law enforcement officers are assisting the child’s aunt in laying a formal charge against Lech.
“The dog was impounded (by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA).”
Inspectorate manager of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Moyo Ndukwana, said the Rottweiler was brought to them by law enforcement officers.
“The SPCA is acting as custodian for the impounded dog. For how long the dog will remain impounded will depend on the outcome of the case between the City and the owner of the dog,” Ndukwana said.