A wreath for her brother in bloody street
Devastated sister of mauled pitbull attack victim says she seeks closure from police
Holding her head in her hands, Chantelle Redgard wept quietly yesterday as she stood less than a metre from the large blood stain that marks the spot in a Port Elizabeth street where two pitbulls savagely attacked and killed her brother late on Monday night.
Redgard, who has now lost all of her immediate family, was standing in Magnolia Street in Algoa Park where about 40 neighbours, friends and work colleagues had gathered to lay a wreath and pay their respects to 27-year-old Ruan Redgard.
He was attacked by the two dogs, along with David Wilken, 53, about 50m from the property where both men lived in a boarding house, shortly after 10pm on Monday.
Wilken, who is recovering from the attack in Livingstone Hospital where he yesterday underwent an operation to repair his arm, rushed to Redgard’s aid after the two dogs – which were subsequently put down by the police – had escaped from their own yard in nearby Whyteleaf Drive.
Redgard, who was employed as a welder at Truckbodies in Struandale, was hailed by his former colleagues as a friendly man who “never fought with anyone”.
“Ruan was a people’s person. We always joked about the colour of his hair, which he kept changing. He never fought with anyone, he was always friendly with everyone,” pastor and former colleague Adam Lombard told the gathering.
Speaking before the brief ceremony, Redgard said she was still in shock over the incident and felt a sense of disbelief.
“I have not heard anything from the owners of the dog. I am also frustrated because there seems to be no action on this from the police or the municipality. I need some sort of closure on what happened,” said Redgard.
Wilken’s daughter-in-law, Simoné Wilken, who was at the gathering, said doctors had yesterday removed tissue from his buttock to use in the repair of his arm.
“This is a shocking attack and something should be done about ensuring the safety of people here. There are two creches in this street,” she said.
And, in a startling revelation around infamous dog fighting in the greater area, Wilken said her father-in-law had formerly been involved in “dog training”.
While frustration over the attack has been directed at the owners of the two pitbulls, neighbours who operate a play school next door to the owners yesterday refuted a number of media reports around the incident.
Play school owner Natalie Stoltz, who said the tight-knit community there was still reeling in shock over the attack, described the incident as a freak accident.
She said the dogs’ owners, which included a couple and their son, had been unaware that the animals had escaped the yard as the couple were sleeping and their son was away from the home at the time. The owners of the dog declined to speak to the media in the wake of the attack.
Refuting claims that the owners had been breeding pitbulls on the property, Stolz said the dogs had slept in a vehicle on the property because of the high crime rate in the area.
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg, responding to calls on social media for criminal charges to be laid against the owners of the two pitbulls, stressed that an inquest had been opened – and not a criminal investigation.
“Once the investigation has been completed, the report is put before an inquest body, which will then determine the next steps or actions to be taken.”
Redgard’s funeral service will be held at the Victoria Park Crematorium at 11am on Wednesday.