A South African National Parks water truck was speeding when it knocked down and killed a dog at Silvermine Nature Reserve last week, claims the animal’s owner.
However, SANParks denies this and has ruled the dog’s death an accident.
Stephen Abraham says his dog, Duke, an Anatolian shepherd dog cross-breed, died instantly when the truck hit him at 9am on Wednesday January 24.
Mr Abraham said he took Duke and his Yorkshire terrier, Chee Chee, on daily walks in the reserve, but on this particular day, a friend had taken them for a walk instead.
“My friend called me in such a terrible state, saying Duke had been killed. I jumped in my car and drove up to the reserve.”
The incident, according to Mr Abraham, took place inside the reserve about 2 metres from Gate 2.
“The water truck was coming on at a speed, and my friend managed to grab my Yorkie and dove into the bushes. Duke, who is a big boy, was standing in the road. The white water truck, manned by a ranger and a driver, struck Duke who died instantly.
“My friend ran to Duke while also trying to get the ranger and driver to stop. He whistled and shouted, but they didn’t stop.“
The Echo spoke with the friend, who asked to remain anonymous. He confirmed what Mr Abraham said but declined to comment further.
“They hit my dog, killed him and never stopped. You don’t just need to worry about being mugged. Now you also need to be worried about being hit by a SANParks water truck and being left for dead,” Mr Abraham said.
Mr Abraham told the Echo he had previously encountered the water truck while out in the reserve.
“I have been passed by this water truck on a few occasions, and when they come past, you get out of the way. I’ve seen it; it’s happened to me.“
In a statement, Table Mountain National Park, said the truck’s tracking device had been checked as part of the investigation into the incident.
“What we can confirm is that the truck was driving at a speed range of 6 to 10 km/h and stopped on two occasions, confirming the submissions of the driver and eyewitness that he stopped to yield to two users with dogs along the trail,” the statement said.
The incident had been deemed to be accidental and the driver had been cleared of any wrongdoing, the statement said.
“SANParks does not tolerate negligent or reckless driving within our parks, more so by staff. We extend our sympathies to the owner and the family for the loss of the dog.“
Mr Abraham said he wanted an apology from the driver and for people to remain vigilant when in the reserve.
“Duke was a wonderful guard dog, kind and gentle with a beautiful nature. His favourite thing to do was go for a walk.
“For me, what’s important here is that responsibility is taken so that nobody else gets harmed. My dog is dead – I’ve got nothing to gain. But somebody else whose child is walking around or dogs are walking around up there, they’ve got everything to lose.“