Runner mauled by pit bulls recovering at home, lays charges with police

René Memmel was attacked by two pit bulls.
René Memmel was attacked by two pit bulls.
Image: Supplied

A runner who was attacked by two pit bull dogs on Friday in Edenvale has laid a charge with the police.

René Memmel, 38, was discharged from hospital on Monday morning.

“I’m alive. A very scary ordeal,” he told TimesLIVE.

“I was training for the Soweto marathon and I think that will be on hold, given what happened to me.”

“So I went out at about 4.30am to run. These dogs were on the road, the gate was open,” he said.

He stopped, but the dogs approached him.

“They came slowly, I didn’t think they were going to do anything; when they came closer they started to maul me.”

One dog grabbed him by his leg, tearing it, while the other grabbed him by his wrist and tore his arm.  

René Memmel sustained thigh injuries in the attack.
René Memmel sustained thigh injuries in the attack.
Image: Supplied

“I was hitting the other dog that was on my thigh, trying to get it off, but it didn’t want to come off.”

He started to scream until a neighbour heard him, went out and was able to distract the dogs.

“He was able to distract the dogs to get off me and follow him to his house to take cover and then he drove me back down the road from where I was. They called the ambulance for me,” said the runner who was admitted to hospital on Friday.

He reported the case at Edenvale police station on Monday after he was discharged from hospital.

“The owner, to my knowledge, has been good and she wants to make contact with me. She also went to the police station ... but I just went to the police station to also let them know.”

Pit Bull Federation of SA (PBFSA,) spokesperson Lins Rautenbach said the owners of any dogs that escape their home and maul people should be charged.

Police should not refuse to open a case in terms of the Animals Matters Amendment Act.

“People who are attacked are advised to lay criminal charges and should approach the media should the SAPS refuse to open a case.”

Rautenbach said owners of all dogs need to take responsibility for keeping their dogs in their yards.

Owners should have securely locked gates and high walls; ideally, dogs should not have access to a gate opening to the road.

“Owners are advised that it is a criminal offence should their dogs get out and attack anyone. The onus is solely on the owner for ensuring their dog is not able to cause injury or damage to anyone or anyone’s property.”

“The law just doesn’t take this seriously. The police cannot send victims to the SPCA. It is not the SPCA's mandate to deal with maulings. They are only mandated to deal with animal cruelty. The SAPS must be made to open a case in terms of the Animals Matters Amendment Act. SAPS likes sending victims on a runaround.”

Rautenbach said pit bulls are powerful dogs and when confronted by one, there is not much anyone can do to protect themselves.

A pit bull should never exhibit human aggression. A pit bull showing aggression should be euthanised. It is a serious fault. No pit bull should ever be made aggressive,” she said.

Gauteng police spokesperson Col Noxolo Kweza confirmed a case was opened at the Edenvale police station.

“Yes, I can confirm the case with a charge of failing to control vicious animals,” said Kweza.


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