While most of us are familiar and tend to use the term “once bitten, twice shy” when referring to circumstances or experiences that have caused us some sort of injury, making us all the more cautious when a similar instance crosses our path.

However, what happens if we apply this term more literally:

You are on holiday on the Coast , an ocean breeze in the air, enjoying a wholesome day at the beach. Sandcastles are being built, a game of football is being played and you are between tanning and cooling off in the waves. You are on the shoreline going about your business  and you suddenly feel a sharp pain on your leg followed by screaming and faintness.

You realise that you have been bitten by an animal and that no, it is not a shark but just simply someone’s pet dog. What do you do?

South African law provides that when a domestic animal causes harm or injury to a person, the owner of the animal can be held liable and accountable for the action of his/her pet.

The question arises whether you can claim monetary compensation for the injury caused from the owner?

To succeed with an action against the owner of the animal, there are certain factors that are considered and must be proven, these are:

  1. That the animal is a domestic animal;
  2. That it acted contrary to its nature;
  3. That the identity of the owner is known and that the owner failed to control its animal at the time of the incident in question; and
  4. That the animal’s conduct was the direct cause of the injury sustained.

As such, under these circumstances if you meet the requirements as set out above, you may be able to institute a claim against the owner of the dog for the injuries that you sustained.

Should you require assistance with a claim of this nature or any other nature please feel free to contact our office on 011 897 1900, 076 777 1920 or info@tuckers.co.za.

Article contributed by Ra’eesah Akoon of Tuckers Attorneys