Free State police on Sunday said a pit bull had to be shot dead after it mauled to death an eight-year-old boy at his home in Vista Park, Bloemfontein.
It is alleged the dog escaped from its enclosure and jumped over the fence into the neighbour’s premises at around 2pm on Saturday.
Police spokesperson Lt-Col Thabo Covane said the dog attacked the child, who was playing alone. It bit him severely on the neck and chest.
“The police and paramedics were summoned to the scene and the boy was declared dead on the scene. The beast was put to death,” said Covane.
An inquest docket has since been opened at the Mangaung police station.
After several vicious, deadly attacks there have been mounting calls to ban the breed for domestic purposes.
Last month, an online petition calling for an end to the ownership of pit bulls was launched.
The Sizwe Kupelo foundation, which is behind the petition, said: “The call to ban pit bulls in South Africa comes as other countries like Russia, Finland, Denmark, the UK, Portugal, parts of Germany, parts of China, parts of Brazil and parts of Australia, among a host of countries have either banned, put restrictions on ownership of the breed or its importation.”
The organisation’s founder Sizwe Kupelo said: “The defense by pit bull lovers that it is how you raise the dog does not hold water. So many people, including joggers, have been attacked and killed by pit bulls.
“It is time that the South African government takes decisive steps and imposes a complete ban on the ownership of pit bulls as domestic animals. Such a move would prevent further attacks and unnecessary deaths. We cannot continue sending out messages of condolences for something that can easily be prevented.”
The petition had garnered almost 50,000 signatures by Sunday.