Tongaat man sues after Christmas Day dog attack

2012-02-20 00:00

A TONGAAT man is suing the owner of five boxer dogs, four of which allegedly attacked and bit him while he was walking in the road on Christmas Day in 2008.

Sunder Dhunraj instituted a damages claim for R195 000 against Loganathan Muthoosamy (also known as Reggie Pillay) of 26 Adelaide Avenue in Tongaat.

Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Fikile Mokgohloa will first decide whether the dogs’ owner is liable to pay damages at all, before considering the amount.

She has reserved judgment.

According to evidence, Pillay and his wife were abroad at the time of the incident and their son, Riaesh was in control of the dogs, which are family pets.

He maintains only one dog named Jaap, attacked Dhunraj, and that Dhunraj had earlier provoked the dogs.

Dhunraj denied this.

He said he passed the property where the dogs were while on his way to a shop.

When he returned Riaesh Pillay opened the gate to drive into the yard and one of the dogs ran out and attacked him.

Dhunraj claims he kicked at the dog in self-defence and it ran away, but returned with three other dogs and they savaged him.

His advocate, Keryn Askew, said the fact that Dhunraj sustained multiple wounds to the front of his legs, his buttocks and bruising to his arm showed that he had been attacked by more than one dog.

She submitted that it was unlikely that the dogs would have remembered Dhunraj and “made a beeline” to attack him at least 20 minutes after he was alleged to have irritated them.

Advocate Deshin Pillay, for the owners of the dogs, urged the court to find that in fact Dhunraj did provoke the dogs, resulting in the attack.

He cited the evidence of a neighbour who said she heard the dogs barking and saw Dhunraj looking into the yard and “growling” to provoke the animals.

Pillay said the dogs were family pets who had never bitten anyone before.

Riaesh Pillay testified that when he arrived at his parents’ yard he stopped the car, got out and opened the gate. The dogs ran out as they always did, but Jaap carried on up the road.

He called the other dogs back into the yard and shut the gate before going in pursuit of Jaap.

He took Dhunraj to a doctor for treatment and offered to pay for any further treatment he required at the time.

It is in in dispute how many times Dhunraj returned to the doctor.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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