WARNING: This story contains graphic images and content that may upset sensitive viewers.
- Police officers shot and killed a Cape Town woman’s dog during a raid last week.
- Natasha Oosthuizen said she was sad and angry as her dog had been muzzled and unable to pose a threat.
- Authorities say the property, where she is renting a room, is a known drug house in the area.
A tenant living at what the authorities have called a known drug house is bereft after “barbaric” police shot and killed her muzzled dog.
Grief-stricken Natasha Oosthuizen, 36, said that on Tuesday police arrived at the Manenberg residence where she has been renting a room for the past seven months.
According to her, four police vehicles arrived at the Matilda Court flat to search the property. She claims the officers did not have a search warrant and that they had fired three shots at her 7-month-old pit bull, Chosen.
“I’ve heard that this house is a known drug house, but I have not seen any suspicious activity happening here.”
She did however claim that people sometimes come and smoke, what she believes is drugs, in the courtyard.
Oosthuizen said police had raided the house more than five times since she moved in.
“Other times when the police come to search the house, they ask me to put the dog away and then I lock him in the bathroom until they’re done. But this time they didn’t ask me, they just shot him when he went running to the outside gate.”
According to Oosthuizen, the dog had a muzzle on and was unable to attack anyone, even if he had wanted to.
‘Vicious animal at a known drug house’
Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that an “incident report” had been recorded after officers were attacked by a “vicious animal at a known drug house” while following up on information of “drug dealing complaints”.
According to police, the 52-year-old woman who owns the building had been arrested on several occasions and was currently under correctional supervision for past drug dealing convictions.
Oosthuizen said that no contraband had been found there since she and her family had moved in.
Van Wyk said the dog was taken to the local animal hospital for treatment.
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“It is alleged that the owners allowed the dog to attack police members when conducting searches at the address, and while they tried fending off the dog, perpetrators would have a chance to hide or shift illegal paraphernalia. It is unfortunate that animals are used to attack SAPS members in the execution of their duties.”
Oosthuizen, however, denied the police’s version of events, adding that she had not received an apology and had been told “it is your fault the dog is dead.”
“How can it be my fault? They shot him three times. The dog had a muzzle on his mouth, he couldn’t even bite anyone. What they did was barbaric and not okay. My daughter and I are extremely sad that we no longer have Chosen running up and down in the house.”
‘Gasping his last breaths’
She said after the shooting incident police searched the house, “peeking into the two bedrooms” before leaving.
Van Wyk encouraged Oosthuizen to lodge a complaint with police management or the Independent Police Investigative Directorate if she was dissatisfied with the handling of the incident.
According to the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) of SA, “there was no way the Chosen would’ve survived the fatal shots”.
The dog was shot twice in the face and once in the leg.
“By the time he was brought in, he was gasping his last breaths,” said spokesperson Allan Perrins.
“The use of deadly force should be the exception, not the rule. In this instance, execution of the warrant by the police literally meant execution – of an innocent young pit bull who was reportedly muzzled with an unmistakable contraption rendering him harmless. So why the need for such disproportionate action and why ignore the owner’s pleas for help for her dying dog?
“That just smacks of indifference by those entrusted to serve and protect us.”