JOHANNESBURG – While many homeowners and tenants keep dogs on their properties, it is important to know that they are likely to be held liable if their animals attack a third party.
This is according to Johannes du Plessis, legal adviser at RBS (Risk Benefit Solutions), a Financial Services Provider, who says that both lawful visitors and unlawful trespassers have the right to claim damages from homeowners or tenants if they are injured by a guard dog on the property.
“Owners and occupiers of properties or buildings where dangerous conditions exist have a legal duty to prevent injury to anyone who enters the premises.
They can be held liable for damages caused by a dog bite from a domesticated pet on a lawful visitor if it behaved in a manner that is contrary to what may be expected of a well-behaved dog. In other words, if they attack without provocation.
This also means that fault, intent or negligence on the part of the owner of the dog is not required for liability to a lawful visitor.”