South Africa Law

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It is regarding my dog biting another dog

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I am still composing my question, will revert back asap
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Good day,I trust you are well.I have an urgent query regarding the South African common law regarding dog attacks against other dogs? My dog wandered out of my property and allegedly attacked another dog on a leash, and I am now urgently in need of legal advice regarding the due process for who is liable for what.I was away for a few days and upon my return, while taking in my luggage, my 2 chow-chows slipped out of a hole they chewed through the gate (which my dog-sitter failed to inform me about), and ran to the parking area of the complex, where my neighbour was walking his dog on a leash. In what seemed to me like a playful manner, my dog began to frolic around the other dog, when, possibly irritated or alarmed by the behaviour, my neighbour began to repeatedly kick my dog away.Appalled and extremely rattled, I ran to my dog’s rescue, reprimanded my neighbour for his behaviour, recorded an audio clip of our security guard’s first-hand witness account of the incident (which confirmed my own), and shakily returned home to a sudden influx of long, and at first polite text messages from my neighbour’s girlfriend, who began making excuses for her boyfriend’s actions. When I responded that I fundamentally disagreed with her and asked her to stop harassing me, things became sour, and eventually she claimed that my dog had aggressively attacked her dog and demanded that I pay for the veterinary charges. I did not respond directly, thinking this sudden change in behaviour a little suspicious, and am wondering how to follow due legal process to understand if and how I am accountable.Now corresponding with me through my mother, since I am under strict medical supervision due to a serious health condition for which I am unable to afford additional stress, my neighbours have additionally insisted that they took the dog to the vet and are now claiming that the wound had become infected, despite the dog being prescribed antibiotics. I am unaware of any circumstances under which they are treating the dog and am concerned about being held liable for more than what I am really accountable. I have sought advice from the SPCA who advised me to open a case against my neighbour for animal cruelty.Additionally, my dog also has psychological damage after the incident and started urinating in the house, which I assume is directly due to unnatural stress.Please advise me on what what my rights are in this context, and how I should proceed legallyThank you for your time,
Kindest Regards,
Hilde
Answered in 2 hours by:
3/26/2018
CaseLaw
CaseLaw, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,706
Experience: BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
Verified

Hi there Hilde and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your initial question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

The short answer is that you are responsible for your dog's actions. If your dog is "naturally" aggressive (think Boer Bull, Pit Bull) then you have a greater duty to protect other people and take action to insure that nobody is injured because of your dog. If your dog is not "naturally" aggressive (think poddle?) then the standard is lower.

BUT, if your dog bites somebody / something, you're liable.

HOWEVER, your dog needs to be the cause of the attack. If, what you're saying, is that your neighbour was kicking your dog then perhaps your dog was acting in self defence to the attack on it?!

I would tell your neighbour that you're not going to be paying any vet bills as a result of the fact that your dog didn't "start" the fight, and that you are actually going to think about laying a complaint against your neighbour for abuse to your dog in his kicking.

Tell your neighbour that you have multiple eye witnesses who can attest to what happened. Perhaps also send the voice clip recording as proof.

I'm sure that your neighbours are taking an offensive approach because they know they are in the wrong, and they want you to be on the defence ... instead of you demanding vet bills from them!

If my answer hasn't provided you with enough clarity regarding your initial question, please send me a REPLY with follow up questions so that I can continue to assist you in this same thread for as long as you need. Let me know if you need more advice - don't just rate my answer as "bad".

If my are HAPPY with my answer then please click one of the STAR ratings or the SMILEY FACES to rate my answer!

Good luck and best regards,

CaseLaw

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Good day,Thank you so much for getting back to me, I am still not a 100% sure what my legal rights are regarding the incident and the vet bill for the infection.Thank you for your time,
Kindest regards,
Hilde

How do you mean? Do you want to claim your dog's vet bill from your neighbour?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hey there,My apologies if I was not clear.I was referring to my neighbours vet bill, please see a snippet from my previous question."...my neighbours have additionally insisted that they took the dog to the vet and are now claiming that the wound had become infected, despite the dog being prescribed antibiotics. I am unaware of any circumstances under which they are treating the dog and am concerned about being held liable for more than what I am really accountable."

I would tell your neighbour that you're not going to be paying any vet bills as a result of the fact that your dog didn't "start" the fight, and that you are actually going to think about laying a complaint against your neighbour for abuse to your dog in his kicking.

You can also add in that you have certain vet bills in relation to your dog that they might have to pay!

Ask Your Own South Africa Law Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you for the response, I do not have any vet bills, as my dog did not have any physically harm, but emotional harm.

Okay. But you must still deny any liability to your neighbour for his dog's vet bills. For the reasons set out above.

I hope that you understood the answer and that it was useful? If you have a further questions please can you rate my answers above as positive; and then ask further questions if you need clarity on the answer provided.

Regards

CaseLaw

CaseLaw
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Experience: BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
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