The tragedy of dog attack death and Sunday’s horror crash

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Life is precious. That much is undeniable. Which means that every time a life is lost, we simply cannot ignore the pain it causes, especially when we know that the circumstances, which led to such loss, could have been prevented.

That’s how it has been during the past week given the news about a couple of tragic incidents that have shocked us all. 

The first incident involved a two-month-old baby who died last week after he and his mother were mauled by a pack of vicious dogs at Fasito’o-uta. 

This would have to be one of the most serious – if not bizarre - cases involving dogs in this country. We’ve always known about the dog problem in Samoa and how they pose a threat to everyone everywhere. 

But this would have to be the first time, if our memory serves us correctly, that a life has actually been taken. Which makes it all the more alarming.

According to a relative, the infant was bitten by the dogs after his mother dropped him when she was attacked.

“She went to charge her mobile phone when the dogs attacked her,” a family member told your newspaper. “The dogs attacked while she was holding her son and then he fell and that’s when the dogs bit the baby’s head.”

The relative said they are all shocked by what had happened. But that’s expected. What is unusual, if the way the story has been told is accurate, is that nobody heard “her scream” and it “wasn’t until she came with her son that’s how we found out about the incident”.

Now according to the Police, they have launched an investigation into the incident to determine what exactly happened. In the meantime, the mother is recovering from serious injuries.

This case is a wake up call for everyone in this country. There are people being mauled by vicious dogs every day everywhere in this country. We don’t pay enough attention to these things because we’ve kind of accepted that it’s part of everyday life. This shouldn’t be the case. There must be laws to protect innocent members of the public from these animals.

It’s amazing that this is the first known case where someone has died from a dog attack. 

The second tragedy involves a 17-year-old teenager who was killed in a car crash last Sunday night. The car appeared to have crashed into an electric pole on the side of the road with pictures revealing the extent of the carnage.

The victim has since been identified as Orlando Manulelia.

 “We were at the sea wall on the night of the incident then he left to use the lavatory,” his brother said. “We kept waiting for him until a man came in the taxi and told us that there’s a crash at Saleufi. We came to see and that’s when we saw my brother’s vehicle.

 “What we don’t get is how did he crash and end up on the other side of the road because he was coming from the town area. The police took his mate as well as his vehicle in for question and up until now he is still there.”

Speaking with tears in his eyes, Poutoa said his younger brother wanted to be an engineer like his father. 

“I miss him I mean we all miss him. He loves cars and especially racing, he participated in the car show during Independence Day. He was unique in his own ways and he loves teasing me with his car…its shocking and we are still coming to terms that he’s gone.”

Orlando was a Year 11 student at Saint Joseph’s College. According to the Police, a preliminary investigation has revealed speeding was involved and it contributed to his instant death at the scene.

These are difficult times for his family. At that young age, Orlando had his whole life ahead of him. He obviously loved cars and he had dreamt of becoming a mechanic. Alas, it will not happen. Tragedy has struck and while he is no longer with us, his family and everyone who knew him are suffering.

Could his death have been prevented? 

Yes, if speeding wasn’t involved. 

But let’s not be too quick to draw conclusions until we get the full report from the Police about what transpired last Sunday night. Suffice to say, driving comes with a lot of responsibilities. And when you combine speed, recklessness and negligence, it becomes a very dangerous combination.

Let the death of this teenage boy not be in vain. There are lessons we must learn from it to avoid a repeat. One life lost is enough. Let’s do the best we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

On that note, we express our deepest sympathies to the families involved in the Fasito’o-uta dog attack and the car crash at Vaea St. last Sunday. We pray that peace and God’s spirit will comfort them during these very difficult times.

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless! 

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