A Pretoria North woman whose dogs savaged a passer-by and her baby in the street outside a shop will have to fully compensate them for their injuries, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ruled.
The court ruled that dog owner Susan Deyzel must compensate Joyce Makhubela and her baby for the damages they sustained when Deyzel’s two Boerbulls attacked them outside the supermarket in Rooiwal where Deyzel worked as a cashier.
Deyzel kept her dogs at the shops in a kennel during the day and behind a high fence and locked gate at night after her house was damaged in a storm.
Makhubela was carrying her baby and walking on a footpath towards the shops when the two dogs moved away from Deyzel and the owner, who were opening the shop, and ran towards her. She tried to run away but tripped and fell and the dogs started to bite her and her baby. The shop owner sprayed something on the dogs but only one ran away. He managed to save the baby from the remaining dog. Makhubela managed to push the dog away and jumped into a passing taxi. She and her child were later taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Deyzel said the fence and gates at the shop were in good condition the previous evening, but when she arrived for work the next morning she discovered that burglars had made a hole in the fence and broken in during the night.
She had called the dogs to take them back into the kennel, but they did not respond and ran past her, attacking Makhubela and her baby. Deyzel eventually managed to place a chain on the dog and pulled it away from Makhubela.
Deyzel insisted the dogs were confused and were annoyed or excited after burglars broke in the night before and that she could therefore not be held liable. Acting Judge N Nkosi said it was common cause that at the time of the attack Deyzel was in charge of the dogs so she could not blame the burglars for their behaviour.