What if my dog bites an intruder?

What about if my dog bites an intruder? We keep being asked this when we share information about the law.

Please see the following excerpt, we hope this clarifies things:

“In 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) handed down a judgement that had major implications on the rights and responsibilities of dog owners in South Africa.”

“People are entitled to walk our streets without having to fear being attacked by dogs and, where such attacks occur, they should in most circumstances be able to look to the owner of the dog for recompense.” Said the Court.

In its ruling, the SCA said that there are three recognized defences for dog attacks:

  • That the injured party was in a place where they had no right to be;
  • The animal was provoked either by the injured party or a third party;
  • That custody and control of the animal has passed to a third party who negligently failed to prevent the animal from causing the harm.

“Attacks outside the aforementioned circumstances will result in the owner being held strictly liable.”






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