The parents of eight-year-old Olebogeng Mosime who was mauled to death by a pitbull this past weekend can sue for emotional trauma and even funeral costs from the owner of the dog. This is according to a legal expert who says victims of dog attacks, have legal recourse in terms of delictual claim.
The dog allegedly escaped its enclosure and jumped over the fence. It then attacked the child who was playing alone, biting him severely on the neck and chest. The boy was declared dead on the scene.
Trauma, pain and suffering are some of the things that the parents can claim from the pitbull owners. They will also have to prove that when the incident happened the victim was in his rightful place.
According to Legal expert Machini Motloung, the parents also need to show there was no provocation of the dog. Motloung says should parents sue there will be a factual inquiry where the owners will explain what care they took to ensure that the dog does not escape and whether warning signs were visible in their yard.
“The parents observed this horrific incident and in this instance, they can claim both special and general damages. With special damages – we talk of damages that can be quantified, easily quantified, such as your funeral expenses, they can claim that. And in terms of general damages – they can because they observe this incident they are able to claim nervous and emotional shock and trauma.”
Mangaung Metro to enforce by-laws:
‘Train the dog’
A Bloemfontein veterinarian says dogs need to be socialised at an early stage when they are still puppies and get used to other dogs and people.
Dr Duncan Winckworth says dog owners need to get a dog behavioural expert to assist with their dogs. Winckworth says owners need to get their dogs to exercise and ensure that they understand them.
“My experience with them is normally they are very easy to handle as a veterinarian on one on one basis. occasionally you get a very mean one, you have to euthanize or put it down straight away. But most of them are very nice dogs to work with, very excitable. But they are excitable that the word IBI use just now. That they get very excited and very difficult to control. It is necessary when you have this kind of dog to train dog. to listen to you, behave well, and socialise with the dog. Let the dog get used to other people. get the dog used to other animals.”
The Mangaung Metro Municipality says it will start with a campaign to educate citizens about by-laws regarding dog ownership.
Mangaung Metro Spokesperson Qondile Khedama explains, “We have agreed on a campaign as the City because one of the things we need to do is to ensure that is happening is teaching people. Giving them information about the by-laws. Because much as we have requested them to surrender the pitbulls to the SPCA, we also have the responsibility of making sure that we reinforce our campaign in making sure that people understand by laws. but also they adhere because one of the things that need to happen is to get a permit, a licence for these dogs, to allow us a chance to regulate the ownership of dogs.”
Meanwhile, the SPCA has reported that its branches in Johannesburg, Gauteng, Kimberley in Northern Cape as well as Virginia and Bloemfontein in the Free State have also received pitbulls from owners who have heeded the call to surrender their dogs.
Pitbull owners in Bloemfontein surrender their dogs: