A Hout Bay woman whose dog was allegedly driven over and killed by a SANParks employee is demanding the matter be investigated.
Louise Burnett claims the man was racist towards her after she confronted him after the teacup Yorkshire terrier’s death on Sunday June 3. SANParks,in turn, have alleged Ms Burnett was racist.
Ms Burnett has taken in rescue animals for years and regularly walks her dogs on the brick road leading up to Rocket Road.
At about 5pm that Sunday, she was walking her Staffordshire bull terrier-cross, Gracie, and the 9-year-old teacup Yorkshire terrier, Pegie, which she had taken over from a friend a year ago.
“There are often people who walk their dogs there, and the dogs often walk in a pack. I was walking, and we were three-quarters of the way up the brick road. The dogs were off their leads,” Ms Burnett said.
“I turned around and saw there was a big double cab at the barrier at the bottom of the road. The next thing, this guy comes racing up the road. I told him to slow down because people were walking their dogs.”
At that point, the man screamed out his window that the dogs should be on their leads, she said.
“He then sped off again. That was when I saw Gracie was in front of the car, but she had moved off to the side. What I didn’t realise is that the little one (Pegie) had been caught under his left back wheel.
“I was confused, but I saw her bounce. She was just lying in the road, and I knew she was dead. Her head was hanging. One side of her head was crushed. I picked her up and there was blood and poop all over my shirt.”
Although in a state of shock, Ms Burnett said she began running after the bakkie.
“I had her (Pegie) in my arms, and I was screaming at the driver, ‘You killed my dog, you killed my dog, you killed my dog.’ But he just drove on.”
Two men at the top of the road heard her screaming and immediately ran down to assist her, thinking she was being attacked.
Realising that the man would have to come back down the road, Ms Burnett and the two men decided to return to the barrier to wait for him.
“I had been told there was some kind of emergency on the Llandudno side. So the men and I waited for him. He did come back down, and then he got out of his car to undo the barrier.
“I was shocked and upset, and kept shouting at him that he had killed my dog. He didn’t apologise once.”
One of the men made an audio recording of the altercation between Ms Burnett and the driver. In the recording, which the Sentinel has heard, Ms Burnett uses many expletives while shouting and telling the man that he had killed her dog. She also screams: “Don’t you f*cking laugh at me.”
The man repeatedly tells Ms Burnett not to threaten him and also says, “You whites, you think you’re better, because you’re white.”
Ms Burnett then says, “Don’t bring that colour card here, you piece of sh*t.”
The man asks her where her permit is to walk her dogs.
Two police officers then arrived on the scene. “I don’t know who called them,” Ms Burnett said.
“The police said I must come with them to the police station, but I was holding my dead dog in my arms. I was not going to go with them. I also knew nothing would happen to this man who killed my dog.”
She believed the SANParks employee had gone with the police.
Two or three days after the incident, Ms Burnett said she had spoken to Hilton Blumeris, of SANParks, who she had heard was the man’s supervisor.
“He asked me why didn’t I go to the police, and would I be prepared to go to a hearing. I told him that SANParks should take this man off duty, and they should conduct their own investigation into the death of my dog.
“He told me he would call me again, but he’s never phoned.”
Ms Burnett said she didn’t care if the man called her “white, pink or green”, but he had killed he pet “without remorse”.
“My dog was not one of the barky ones. She was sweet and friendly to everyone. I’ll never get over this,” she said.
SANParks’ Gavin Bell said the matter was being investigated.
In a statement to the Sentinel on Friday, June 22, SANParks’ Janine Raftopoulos said section Ranger Bradley Wana, from the Visitor Safety Unit, was responding to an incident in the Sandy Bay area on the day.
“While en route to the incident Mr Wana noted the road to be very sandy was also active with pedestrian traffic. Upon approaching the scene of the incident he noticed a woman in the road (Ms Burnett) with two very small dogs walking towards him. He proceeded to stop the vehicle which had the emergency lights activated. Remaining in his vehicle, he requested through the window of vehicle for the woman to move her dogs out of the way,” she said.
“He confirmed that the Ms Burnett picked up one of the dogs, after which he proceeded to drive off. It was at this time that he heard her screaming. He immediately stopped the vehicle and reversed towards her.”
When he exited the vehicle the noticed the woman was very distressed screaming, ‘You killed my dog, You killed my baby, You killed my child’.
“She furthermore proceed to hurl insults and profanity towards Mr Wana referring to him as “a black f*cker” murderer and “a piece of shit” and that he does not deserve to be employed by the organisation.”
Ms Raftopoulos said Mr Wana had 12 years of service, and tried to diffuse the situation by informing her that he did not see the other dog and that he had thought she has moved both dogs out of the way when he initially requested her to do so.
“He added that in terms of the NEEMPA act her dogs were to have been on a leash and under control. Despite this the woman continued to shout and made threats towards Mr Wana. By this time surrounding by-standers began to gather, where Mr Wana thought it best to retreat to the SAPS offices to report the incident. He invited her to do the same and accompany him to ensure the matter was reported.”
She said as Mr Wana was preparing to leave two police officers arrived at the scene and also advised that the two parties accompany them to the police station.
Mr Wana got into the vehicle and followed the SAPS officers to Hout bay police station. Ms Burnett and two male counterparts never arrived at the station. Mr Wana attempted to lay charges against Ms Burnett but was advised by Captain Lourens to wait until the she made contact with the station before laying a charge.
On the 06 June, 2018 Senior Section Ranger Hilton Blumeris who himself has 37 years of service and is Mr Wana’s supervisor, received a call from Ms. Collen Burnett reporting what had happened where she demanded the official be dismissed for ‘killing her baby’. Mr Blumeris advised her to forward him a written statement of the incident and to approach the Hout bay SAPS in order for this matter to be addressed. She refused, citing her distrust with the police.”
* Please note this article has been updated to include new SANParks comment.