Pensioner mauled by dog gets R662 000

Pensioner mauled by dog gets R662 000
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Naude/ANA

A 75-year-old pensioner who was mauled on the arm by her neighbour across the road’s dog while she was apparently in her front garden, is due to receive R662 000 in damages from the dog’s owner.

Caterina Brits of Standerton in Mpumalanga told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that she was standing in her front garden on December 29, 2010, when a large dog from across the road stormed into her yard and attacked her.

She fell to the ground and the dog, which she simply described as a bulky brown dog of uncertain breed, bit her several times on the arm.

She suffered a fracture of the right shoulder and left wrist. The soft tissue and muscles around her elbow were also damaged.

Brits was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria, where she had to remain for 11 days.

A series of pictures depicting the open wounds, with flesh visible, were handed as an exhibit to court.

Brits blamed the dog’s owner, Mpho Christopher Mofokeng, for the incident. She said he knew the dog was aggressive and he should have ensured that the animal remained behind a fence, as it could have possibly attacked neighbours or passers-by.

According to her Mofokeng omitted to fix his fence, which she said enabled the dog to escape from his yard. She also complained that when the dog attacked her, he did not call the dog or rush to her aid.

Mofokeng said his dog, of unknown breed, was about three years old at the time. According to him he always ensured that the dog remained behind the fence and a gate, but this day the latch of the gate fell open.

He denied that the dog attacked Brits in her yard and said it was in the driveway in front of his house.

He explained that he and his wife were on their way to the shops, when he realised that he did not have his bank card with him. He went back home to fetch it and parked his car in the driveway in front of the gate.

His wife remained in the car while he went into the house. Mofokeng said Brits meanwhile walked to the car. The dog noticed her and jumped up against the gate. The latch opened and the dog jumped up against Brits, which caused her to fall.

He said he called the dog and it returned to the yard. He blamed Brits for the incident and said she knew there was a dog in the yard. He said she was also aware of the risk that the dog may escape while he entered or exited the gate while it was not locked.

Mofokeng said Brits also knew that her presence next to his gate would excite the dog and that there was a chance that the animal could harm her.

According to him he kept the dog inside his yard at all times and the gate was locked with a chain, apart from when he or his wife were in the process of leaving the premises via the gate.

The court, however, found that he was 100% liable for the damages which his dog had caused. The bulk of the damages awarded to Brits related to her medical bills, as his medical aid did not cover everything.

The police meanwhile shot and killed the dog a few hours after the incident.

-IOL