The Rottweiler that attacked a two-year-old girl on a Clifton beach last month has been put down.
Neil Arendse, the city’s law enforcement spokesman, said the dog “D” was put down at a private vet chosen by its owner, James Lech, at 3pm on Wednesday.
Lech runs a dog training and rehabilitation centre in Camps Bay and styles himself as a “dog shaman” and “dog whisperer”.
“Our chief informed Mr Lech of the decision to put down the dog this morning (Wednesday)…” Arendse said, adding that the criminal case against Lech would continue.
Lech’s dog bit Meeka Riley Lackay 11 times and she had to undergo surgery.
Four-year-old Sadie Kukkuk was attacked by the same dog inside the Hyde Park shopping centre in Joburg last year.
Meeka’s mother, Chanell Lackay, declined to comment on the dog being put down or the case against Lech.
In an open letter, Lech said: “I am labouring under severe personal anguish. I understand the pain of the little girl, her family and everyone involved.”
On his blog on Monday, Lech said he had learnt a hard lesson. “Yet, I am not the first in my profession to be faced with this kind of challenge and I undertake to be more vigilant around such cases in the future. D has made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation process and has become a treasured pet and a valued member of my pack. I stand by my business ethic and rehabilitation practice,” he wrote.
Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said he was distressed that the dog was paying the ultimate price for the “irresponsible behaviour” of his owner.
“In my opinion there is no such thing as a ‘dangerous dog’ but rather there are dangerous owners. Mr Lech admitted to us that ‘D’ was the same Rottweiler that attacked a young girl in Hyde Park shopping centre in July last year, yet shockingly he still took the dog, which he clearly was not able to control, into a public space without any consideration for anyone else’s wellbeing and this has cost the dog its life.”
The SPCA said they had had concerns about Lech for sometime but didn’t have enough evidence to take action.
“Our most serious concern now is that there is nothing stopping Mr Lech from getting another dog because only a court can deny him ownership under the Animal Protections Act,” he said.
firstname.lastname@example.org – Cape Argus