30 June 2022

Been taken a "bite" at? Unpacking the Action de Pauperie

Submitted by SchoemanLaw Inc

 By Cheralco Worship

Many people enjoy the benefits of having a pet. In most cases, your furry friend can help reduce your anxiety and stress. They can ease loneliness, promote exercise and routine, and even help children become more active. However, all you animal lovers out there beware, you can also be found liable for any damage caused by them through the Actio de Pauperie principle.   

What Is The Actio De Pauperie?

In South African law through the Actio de Pauperie principle, liability for damage caused by a domesticated animal is placed on the owner. Any relief sought by an injured party may be sought through the actio de pauperie. However, certain requirements must be met before one can succeed with a claim in terms of the Actio de Pauperie. In the case of Fourie v Naranjo and Another the requirements have been listed as follows:

The party that is liable must have ownership of the animal; It must be a domesticated animal; The animal must have acted contra naturam sui generis, or against its nature; The injured party is required to have been lawfully present at the place where the damage occurred.

Even if these requirements are met, defences can be raised to escape liability in terms of the principle, namely if the animal was provoked or if there was negligence on the part of the injured party which can be proven.


Owning an animal provides significant satisfaction but it needs to be balanced carefully with legal obligations. Contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw for your legal needs!

Cheralco Worship

SchoemanLaw Inc


Fourie v Naranjo and Another 2008 (1) SA 192 (C).

Van Meyeren v Cloete [2020] 4 All SA 358 (SCA)

SchoemanLaw Inc

SchoemanLaw Inc Attorneys, Conveyancers and Notaries Public is a boutique law firm offering its clients access to high quality online legal documents and agreements, together with a wide range of legal services. The firm has an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset that distinguishes it from other law firms. We apply our first-hand understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurs (regardless of their business size) to develop proven, practical solutions incorporating legal compliance, risk aversion and business sense. We achieve this by offering clients tailored, yet holistic support comprising of legal gap analysis, the design of tailored legal solutions and the practical implementation thereof through training and automation. With your personal interests in mind, our ultimate aim is to implement measures that protect the results of your hard work as effectively as possible.