A two-year-old grandson of former Governor Nderitu Gachagua was on Thursday killed by dogs in Ring Road Estate, Nyeri town.
Wilson Ngatia was playing outside the Gachagua house when six dogs from another homestead gained entry into the compound and attacked him.
Ngatia was the son Mr Jeff Nderitu, the former governor’s son. He was living with his grandmother Margaret Karungaru Gachagua.
Mrs Gachagua was watching the boy play at around 10am when the exotic breed of dogs gained access into the compound through a hole in the fence.
“It happened very fast. They just pounced on him and started dragging him all over the place,” Ms Gachagua told police officers who arrived at the scene minutes after the violent attack.
She said she used sticks and stones in an attempt to fight off the beasts to no avail. “The animals occasionally turned on me,” she said.
Mrs Gachagua added that the dogs even attempted to drag her grandson from the compound. Her screams and those of the boy attracted neighbours who came to their rescue.
Nyeri Deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga was among the first people to arrive at the Gachagua home.
“With the help of neighbours, the dogs were eventually driven away,” said Mr Kahiga who spoke to journalists on behalf of the Gachagua family.
It was at this point that Mrs Gachagua snatched Ngatia and rushed him to Outspan Hospital. He died minutes after arrival.
Forensic experts and detectives from the Nyeri Central Divisional Police headquarters were called to the scene.
Nyeri Central OCPD Muinde Kioko said the owner of the dogs would record a statement and their handler would be arrested. The handler has since vanished.
He said the dogs were guarding a construction site near the Gachagua home the previous night. It was, however, unclear how the beasts left their gated compound and made their way to the Gachagua home.
Police officers also said they wanted to know why the animals were not in their kennels.
Mr Kioko said dogs were supposed to be in an enclosure or restrained during the day to prevent harm to people. “We understand the animals had a handler. We will also question the owner because we want to know how they got out of the compound,” the police boss added.
Detectives collected samples from the home, including the child’s clothes and those Mrs Gachagua was wearing. The dogs were traced to a home in the estate and identified by Mrs Gachagua.
Mr Kioko refused to say what would happen to the animals.
“We are still gathering evidence and statements. Once that is done, we will give a comprehensive statement on our next course of action,” he said.
Mr Kahiga accused the animals’ owner of negligence.
“Police have launched investigations into this unfortunate incident but we blame it on negligence,” the deputy county boss said.
“Pet owners should know that they are responsible for their animals and must watch them.”
This was not the first time pure breed dogs attacked and killed a person in Nyeri. In September 2016, a 75-year-old man was the victim of a ferocious attack by a pair of German Shepherd dogs.
He was mauled on his way to a sick relative’s home in Kamakwa, about two kilometres from Ring Road Estate. Francis Mathenge mistakenly ended up in the home of the relative’s neighbour.
The dogs pounced on Mathenge, injuring him badly. It took neighbours about 30 minutes to fight off the animals.
The old man suffered severe bites on his neck and was pronounced dead on arrival at Nyeri County Referral Hospital.