Widow wins eight-year fight for damages after boerboel killed husband
A widow has won a damages claim, eight years after a family friend’s boerboel killed her husband.
A full bench of judges at the Bloemfontein high court overturned an earlier judgment which found that David van Deventer’s death in 2011 was due to natural causes.
Van Deventer died in hospital 10 days after he was attacked by his friend Hennie Botha’s dog, Capone.
The attack happened when Van Deventer arrived at Botha’s smallholding in Bainsvlei to collect his son.
Judge Johann Daffue said there were two versions of what happened next, but Van Deventer ended up in hospital bleeding from several dog bites.
Even though he had cirrhosis and high blood pressure, “the fact remains that he would not have been rushed to hospital ... let alone emergency treatment, was it not for the wounds sustained,” he said.
Daffue said Botha must pay damages to Van Deventer’s widow, Adriana, as well as her court costs. Another case will be needed to the damages claim.
Botha’s then-wife, Karen, told the court that Capone and his mother, Lulu, were “very loving”, adding: “I have never had any aggression with any of those two dogs.”
She claimed Van Deventer provoked Capone by hitting him with a rope, but the dead man’s sister, Susan, who witnessed the attack, said it was provoked by a scolding Van Deventer gave the dog when it put its paws on his bakkie.
The court decided Susan’s version of the attack was more truthful and credible.
According to the law, said Daffue, “an owner of a domesticated animal such as the dog in this case is liable for damage caused by the animal, without requiring proof of negligence”.