Sunday, July 17, 2011


MAXMOM here...

Hello there dear friends,

I'm not usually one to share distressing things, but this particular story, I believe, will be of interest to all my readers.  It has prompted discussion and debate amongst trainers, dog owners and the general public across our country this week.

 Whatever your opinion might be as to the reasons for this incident, it's things like this that add to the difficulty of opening doors to properly trained Service Dogs in our country, and I'm really saddened.

So, I'm including it for you to make up your own minds.


(Article courtsy of TIMES LIVE)

A rottweiler owned by "Africa's number one dog expert" and self-styled "dog whisperer" mauled a child in an upmarket Johannesburg mall.

James Lech, who describes himself on his website as "Africa's #1 and Dog Expert" [sic], had the "rehabilitated" dog with him in the Hyde Park c entre on Monday when the incident occurred around 1pm.

Sadie Kukkuk, 4, was having lunch with her grandparents at JB River's restaurant at the table next to Lech and his canine friend which he claimed, after the incident, was a "service dog" . Security camera footage shows the rottweiler launching forward, grabbing the child and pulling her backwards.

Lech claims the toddler accidentally tramped on the dog.
Russell Tait, a business consultant who was having lunch at the restaurant, said he pulled the animal off Sadie, using a technique he learnt in a dog unit in the Defence Force.

"He was the hero," said Sadie's mother, Leah Sefor.

Sadie has puncture marks on the right side of her abdomen and has been treated by a doctor and a child psychologist.

When she arrived at the restaurant with her grandparents, Buster and Wendy Sefor, Sadie was introduced by Lech to his dog and he allowed her to pat him. The dog was wearing a red jacket that identified it as a "working dog".

This week Lech told the Sunday Times: "I am a dog whisperer." In a letter to the shopping centre's management, he claims: "I saw the child running, coming around the right of my table, jumping over the dog while he was lying down and resting and accidentally stepping on it at the same time."

When told video footage showed otherwise, he said: "I saw it with periphery vision because my head is tilted, correct."

The footage shows the child nowhere near the dog and simply runs past it while Lech is talking to someone. After the attack people gather around them while Sadie's grandmother is seen trying to help her.

Tait said: "Until I got there, nothing was being done. He [Lech] was standing there. The reason I noticed is because people where shouting at him. He was obviously the dog handler. He had a leash in his hand."

Sadie's mom has laid charges against Lech. She said the girl was "traumatised and sore".
Lech, meanwhile, said three times he had a medical condition that necessitated the dog's presence but refused to say what it was. "That's between me, my doctor and the magistrate judge (sic). I'm not confirming or denying anything."

Hyde Park shopping centre general manager Jacqui McGeehan said: "The landlord has a policy of not allowing dogs into its shopping centre, save for authorised service dogs. The dog in question is a service dog."

She described the incident as "isolated" and " regrettable".

Lech, whose website features a photograph of him with acclaimed US dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, describes himself as a "healer" and "shaman in the realm of dogs".


Wishing all my readers a happy week and sending lotsaluv


Boondocks Love Shack Pack said...

Just sad.

We hope the little girl will be ok.

Boondocks and The Love Shack Pack

How Sam Sees It said...

There is something I notice in the video. At some point, the dog "fixates" on the girl, and nothing is done to break that concentration. He starts it early on in the video, and remains fixed on his target. Watch how he watches the little girl - you can see the aggression in his initial behavior. The fault, however, is totally on the handler - why isn't he paying attention to the dog? As a responsible dog handler/owner/shaman/whatever part of taking a dog in public is to monitor for things like this. Shame on him - he's put so much more at risk with his irresponsible behavior.

Sam's Mom, Christine (stepping off her soapbox now...)

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

so have to agree with the comment from sam, its the handler at faault in not watching the dog and he puts a black mark against any responsible dog owner. My son has two rotweilers and they are with children all the time but there is always the onus on being responsible and alert.If the dog is not realy a service dog then shame on that man for having him there and flounting the rules. I hope it does not make that child afraid of dogs for life.

Shawn said...

I agree with the above comments, as owners we should always be aware of our dogs body language. I would think a "dog whisperer" would notice the slightest change in behavior of his animal!

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I am in agreement too with the above comments. I hope the magistrate throws the book at this man and that the little girl gets both physical and pyschological help to avoid any future fears.
Had Reggie at the vet(kennel)for two days and the vet thinks he has about 3-4 more weeks of grace.
Hugs to you all today.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I noticed the same thing about the dog watching the little girl. Anytime I take my dogs out, I am always always watching what they're doing, and those are the ones that I totally trust around kids--You just never know. It is too bad that the owner set this dog up to fail by not being more attentive, and it's sadly the dog that will ultimately pay the price for what he allowed to happen...

I do hope the little girl is okay...Thanks for sharing this Caryl, and reminding us all to remember to watch our dogs, no matter how trustworthy we think they may be!

sprinkles said...

I agree with all of the above comments. It's most definitely the fault of the owner for not paying closer attention to his dog.

I do hope the little girl will continue receiving psychological treatment and that this doesn't scar her emotionally for life.

Curt Rogers said...

This is absolutely horrible. That poor child. I hope she receives all the medical and psychological care she needs. I hope this one truly awful incident does not scar her for life.

Not having heard of this Lech character at all I question the statements he's made since the attack. He sounds as dodgy as an American politician. And it's sad to me that he identifies with Cesar Milan, whom I have little to no respect for.

I hope this does not damage the reputation and good work service dogs do for their human companions.

Truly terrible.d

houndstooth said...

I agree with the above statements wholeheartedly! I know that it's an unpopular stance here, but I strongly believe that there needs to be a national registry for service dogs here and everywhere. A service dog should, at the very least, be able to pass the CGC and demonstrate an aptitude to do whatever job is required of him or her. A simple tag on the collar or patch on the vest can identify the dog as one who is a service dog and the person who needs the dog never needs to disclose his or her disability or what they need the dog for. We have way too much abuse of service dogs here, and it will either result in a loss of access for those with legitimate service dogs or something else that will be detrimental to those who truly need the dogs. I don't know if that dog was working as a legitimate service dog or not, but he shouldn't have been! There's a lot more that goes into that partnership than putting a harness on a dog. I'm so very sorry for that little girl and that dog, who was put into a position he didn't deserve to be in!

Molly the Airedale said...

We feel so badly for the little girl. She won't forget this for the rest of her life :-(

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Becky Andrews said...

Oh wow. So sad on many levels. I pray that this sweet little girl will heal.

♥I am Holly♥ said...

That is very sad for the little girl and the dog's owner too. Here, we cannot take a dog into a mall or any store unless it is a service dog. If a dog was to do that here, it would be arrested and put at the pound which in itself is heartbreaking because they are usually put down no matter what the circumstances. I hope the girl will be okay. I had a Rotweiller once when I lived in the country and it loved me but it scared everyone else away. Actually she was a sweetie but very big! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

Dexter said...

Bah! What a dork! That poor little girl. Yeah, the movie pretty much says it all.

Mango Momma

Maggie Mae and Max said...

Some people are just stoopid. Poor little girl. :(

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

The Thundering Herd said...

We obviously do not know enough and will leave it to the officials to determine fault, but the video seems to indicate a fault of the handler. We hope that the dog was truly a service dog. We have incidents here where management of retail establishments have questioned the validity of a service dog, and they tend to be blasted in the media. If people falsely claim a dog to be a service dog, they create an aura of disbelief for others.

Our dogs are trained for some things, but not as service dogs and we would never pretend otherwise.

Golden Samantha said...

Christine reasons well and we are in agreement. We hope the little girl is okay - handler seems to be at fault bigtime. But like Kim said about one's dogs, you never, ever know - I just pray the little girl recovers without enormous repurcussions about dogs - oh dear...
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie, Avalon, Oz and mom

Gail Wilson said...

What a sad frightful thing to happen to this child and her family. And for the man to blame it on this poor child. I pray she is okay and can learn to love the good dogs that may come into her life.
Hugs and wags, Gail, Mistaya and Maggie

Tweedles -- that's me said...

this was really a sad thing to ever happen

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

That was just awful. The poor little girl. I hope she has a full recovery. Love Carol

Erin said...

OMG! This is horrible! I too noticed the dog fixate on the child immediately..there is no question who is at fault, had I known the dog had a history of aggression, 1 I wouldn't be in a crowded mall, 2. A muzzle would have been on the dog and 3.) I would have been the first one getting the dog off...after all who knows the dog better than his handler?

GRRR this is rediculous!!

Scout and Freyja said...

Scout is my service dog. When he goes into a public place with me and I sit at a table, he is trained to lay UNDER the table. If no room under the table, he is trained to lay down close to me at which time his leash is placed under my foot giving him room enough to be comfortable but to not have the ability to stand or wander.

The man with the Rottie is NO dog whisperer, otherwise he would have sensed what was going to take place. The dog saw that child as prey - you can see it in his body language and in the way that he grabbed her. I just thank God that there were enough people available to rescue that sweet child.

Sadly, an incident like this will label Rotties (once again) as vicious.

Clive said...

That video is truly horrendous and so upsetting! That poor little girl.

Firstly, we can't believe that a rottweiler was being used as a service dog (if indeed the dog was a service dog) - that certainly would not happen in Ireland. Rottweilers here have to wear a muzzle also when out in public places!

As many of your previous commentators have said - dogs like that do a huge disservice to 'real' service dogs. If a dog attacked a child like that here - the dog would be taken by the authorities and put down.

- Clive and Murray

Rachel Stoneham said...

Poor little girl. Since the mother already pressed charges against the dog handler, I hope justice will be served. Although it will take a long time for the girl to recover on the trauma, family and friends support will do such big help for her to recover.