Judgment soon in dog attack suit



Judgment is expected in the next two weeks in the civil suit brought by a man whose arm was ripped off by three dogs while he was walking in Rowallan Park.
Gerald Cloete, 42, was critically injured in the attack on February 18 2017 when the dogs escaped from their owner’s yard in Rowan Street.
He is suing the home owner, Christiaan van Meyeren, for R2.4m in compensation for the loss of his arm, other injuries, pain and suffering.
Judge Murray Lowe said the case was novel in South African law.
He heard final arguments on Thursday.
Animal owners are held strictly liable for damage caused by their animals, without the plaintiff having to prove negligence or intent on the side of the owner.
Advocate Dirk Coetsee, for Van Meyeren, however, argued that the court should make an exception in this case.
Van Meyeren told the court the gate was always locked and he was not at home at the time of the attack.
He claimed, however, that an unknown intruder had broken open the locks on the gate, allowing the dogs to escape.
Advocate Pieter Mouton, for Cloete, said the court should find that the gates were never locked.
He said the evidence of Van Meyeren and his wife, Charline, was not to be believed.
Mouton also asked the court to make a punitive cost order against Van Meyeren for at first denying that the dogs belonged to him, even though he testified that he had known since the day of the attack that it was his dogs that were responsible.

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