PE dog owner found liable for damages after man loses arm in attack

2018-11-29 16:08
Gerald Cloete (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

Gerald Cloete (Lulama Zenzile, Netwerk24)

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The owner of three dogs which attacked a man in a street in 2017 has been found liable for damages in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth this week.

Gerhald Cloete instituted a civil claim for R2.34m in damages against the dogs' owner Christiaan van Meyeren, after the attack on February 18, 2017.

He could no longer work and needed a full-time carer.

Cloete, 42, who did odd jobs for an income, had been pushing a trolley in Rowan Street, Rowallan Park, when he heard the sound of dogs running behind him.

The three "pit bull-type dogs" attacked him without any instigation and bit him repeatedly.

He sustained puncture wounds to his head, chest and legs, and deep wounds to both arms. Pieces of both earlobes were missing. After the attack, he had to undergo a complete amputation of his left arm, up to his shoulder.

The judge found that he was a convincing witness and said the court believed his life had been saved by the heroic efforts of a bystander, who intervened and was also bitten.

In the defendant's plea, Van Meyeren initially denied that it was his dogs that attacked Cloete. He stated in the plea that while out, an intruder attempted to break open the front door of his home and broke open the locked gates which kept the dogs away from the street.

He denied that he was liable or negligent.

The dogs were later put down.

But the court ruled he was liable and awarded legal costs.

Attorney of record Wilma van der Bank welcomed the order and said her client was thankful that justice prevailed.

She told News24 that the judgment underlined the fact that dog owners were responsible for ensuring their animals did not pose a danger to members of the public.

"Strict measures must be taken by all dog owners to ensure that their dogs are at all times secured behind effective enclosures," she said.

"This case is particularly important due to the prevalence of crime and the obvious fact that dogs, sometimes large and fierce, are kept as deterrents."

She said Cloete was suffering psychologically and nothing would ever be the same for him again.

The number of damages are to be determined at a separate court hearing.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  accidents

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