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Mauled to death

By SASHA HARRINANAN Wednesday, March 26 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Cop's distress: A policeman holds his head at the Archibald Street, Tunapuna home of Sylvia Roberts where officers had to shoot and kill three pitbull...
Cop's distress: A policeman holds his head at the Archibald Street, Tunapuna home of Sylvia Roberts where officers had to shoot and kill three pitbull...

AN 84-YEAR-OLD grandmother was mauled to death by her son’s three pitbulls yesterday at their Archibald Street, Tunapuna home. Following the attack, the three dogs were shot dead by police.

According to neighbours, Sylvia Roberts, 84, was talking to a postman from the nearby Tunapuna Post Office when “Tiger”, the biggest of the three pitbulls owned by Roberts’ son Glenroy Roberts, suddenly turned on her, lunging for the elderly woman’s throat.

A neighbour who gave her name only as Susan, told Newsday that at about 12.30 pm, two women who live across the street started calling out to her, shouting “come quick!” as “Tiger” attacked Roberts.

“I ran over to the gate and saw Tiger had ‘Nenny’ (Roberts’ nickname) by the neck. She was lying face down on the walkway, bleeding from the neck and struggling to get away from the dog. She was moving her arms and legs, but Tiger wasn’t budging and having undergone hip surgery last year, Nenny wasn’t that strong to begin with,” Susan said.

She recalled trying to distract Tiger by calling out to him from the walk-through gate, a few feet from where the attack was taking place, at the base of the steps leading to the gallery of Roberts’ home.

“I shouted his name and he registered it, turning his head a bit but other than that, Tiger gave no indication that he would let go. Nobody could go in the yard to help ‘Nenny’, so we called the police and the ambulance service.”

Police arrived at 1.15 pm, by which time Roberts was already dead. The officers fired shots at the dogs, killing all three. Susan said that instead of an amulance arriving, officers called for undertakers and the District Medical Officer.

“Nenny was godmother to my two youngest children. I’m in a mess right now. You can’t un-see something like what I just witnessed,” Susan said. She also noted that Glenroy Roberts acquired the pitbulls not only as pets but as guard dogs. Due to her hip surgery, granny Roberts had very little interaction with the dogs.

Another neighbour said the postman was so traumatised by the mauling that he was crying as he spoke on his cellular phone. After being interviewed by police, the postman returned to the post office where the manager, Newsday was told, allowed him to leave early for the day on compassionate grounds.

Roberts’s death comes almost seven months after a similar incident on August 26, in which 82- year-old grandmother Lillian Bunsee, was mauled to death by her son’s pitbull as she was about to feed the animal at her La Seiva Road, Maraval home. Yesterday’s fatal mauling is also the seventh such death since 1998.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, contacted for comment, said the death of yet another person by pitbulls, “vindicates the strong stance taken by Government in respect of dangerous dogs, particularly the pitbull breed.”

“Government will therefore aggressively press ahead with this legislation and we urge owners to behave responsibly, to comply with the law, because the penalties are quite severe,” Ramlogan said. To this end, the AG said he intends to take a note to Cabinet tomorrow, with respect to the sections of the Dog Control (Amendment) Bill that do not require regulations, for example, persons abandoning their dogs in the streets, in order to have them proclaimed into law, “with immediate effect.”

Ramlogan also said the necessary regulations “should be ready within the next two weeks.”

Asked if anyone would be charged in connection with Sylvia Roberts’ death, the AG said “that would be a matter for the police and the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions).”


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