Home News Pit bull owners are liable for any harm caused, lawyer warns

Pit bull owners are liable for any harm caused, lawyer warns

Pit bull owners are liable for any harm caused, lawyer warns

Johannesburg – Owners of vicious animals such as pit bulls have been warned that they could be liable for any harm caused by their pets.

This warning comes after an 8-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pit bull at his home on Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The dog belonged to the boy’s neighbour, police said. Police had to shoot the pit bull dead.

The boy had been playing in his yard in Vista Park when the dog allegedly jumped over the fence and attacked him.

Public interest lawyer Richard Spoor said owners were liable under a civil claim and advised that owners could purchase third party liability insurance in the event of a civil claim against them.

“A warning to pit bull owners and the owners of large and dangerous dogs in general.

“If your dog attacks and maims or kills anyone, you are strictly liable for the harm caused.

“You will lose your house, your car, everything. This holds even if the victim entered your property,” Spoor warned on Twitter.

A warning to pit bull owners and the owners of large and dangerous dogs in general. If your dog attacks and maims or kills anyone, you are strictly liable for the harm caused. You will lose your house, your car, everything. This holds even if the victim entered your property. https://t.co/GtW5ZJ8Mlb

— Richard Spoor (@Richard_Spoor) November 14, 2022

He advised South Africans who owned dangerous animals to “ensure that you are insured”.

“Many insurers will exclude dog bites by pit bulls and other dangerous breeds from their home owner third party liability insurance policies.

“Also the insurance will not cover your own family members,” he said.

In a discussion with SA FM, Spoor said it was possible for owners to purchase insurance products that would cover the owner in the event of a claim.

He said anyone who was attacked by a dangerous animal could mount a claim against the animal’s owner in the civil courts.

He said that animals that pose a danger to people could be put down.

Meanwhile, in the Bloemfontein incident, police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thabo Covane said the dog bit the boy on the neck and chest.

He died on the scene and the dog was later put down, while two other dogs were removed from the property and were now in the care of the SPCA in Bloemfontein for safekeeping.

Meanwhile, a petition by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation calling for the ban on pit bulls, which was started last month, now has over 58 000 signatories.

“Following years of vicious attacks on innocent citizens, including young children, the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation has called for the immediate ban of pit bulls.

“The call has been necessitated by the attacks which seem to continue unabated with the recent attack resulting in the untimely and unfortunate death of a 10-year-old in Gelvandale, Gqeberha in Nelson Mandela Bay,” the foundation said at the time.

Original Article