By Elesha George
Melissa Elliott, Manager at the Dog Control and Regulatory Authority (DCRA) said it is unfair for the public to lobby to euthanise a dog that bit an APUA worker during a scheduled meter reading last week.
The APUA worker was sheltering from the rain on a verandah of a house located in Bendals when he was severely bitten by an Akita.
APUA’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) reiterated that the man was unaware that the dog had approached him until its teeth gripped his right hand.
Residents have since took to social media, saying that the dog should be put down after such a vicious attack.
However, Elliott said that while the authority sympathises with the APUA employee, the incident could not be defined as “an attack.”
She said the report which was given by the utility company does not paint the true picture of what occurred.
Following an independent investigation of the matter, she concluded that the dog was simply being a dog.
“If this is a dog that really is that aggressive and should not be around, then we would have to protect other people from future incidents, but that is not the case. This is a dog that we believe was just protecting a property because the APUA employee was there on the verandah for an extended period of time and the dog perceived him as an intruder,” she told Observer.
The DCRA manager who recalled eyewitness statements said that the dog had been barking at the worker and pulling on its chain for well over 10 minutes before it got loose and pounced on the meter reader.
“We’ve come across cases where mongrel dogs attack people, a real attack – unprovoked, unwarranted; and they’ve mauled people, and we would have had to put those dogs down, but this is not an attack – but this is not a dog attack. He was bitten but it was not an outright attack as is being portrayed”, she explained.
The dog which had lived there since it was a pup is visible from the roadside. Video footage shows the dog tied to a big tree on the side of it’s owner’s house.
The DCRA has advised the dog’s owner to better secure the dog so that it cannot easily get away from its chains next time.
“That’s why we do due diligence with these cases to make sure we get to the bottom of them to make sure of what happened because people lie, and these dogs, they cannot speak so we have to be the ones to ascertain what really happened so we can take the necessary course of action,” she stressed.
Elliott said the DCRA is open to training APUA workers on how to handle situations where dogs are involved.
Meanwhile, APUA’s PRO Sharifa George told Observer that the man has still not regained full use of his hand and may require extended sick leave from work if his condition does not improve.