Gerald Cloete, 42, used to do handyman jobs and sell bottles in Port Elizabeth to make ends meet. But his life was turned upside down last year when he had to have his left arm amputated after three dogs attacked him in the street.
He now faces a future where he will no longer be able to work and needs a full-time carer.
As a result, he instituted a civil claim for R2.34m in damages against the owner of the dogs, Christiaan van Meyeren.
The matter is currently being heard in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.
In the particulars of the claim, Cloete stated he had been walking in Rowan Street, Rowallan Park, on February 18, 2017, when three "pit bull-type dogs" attacked him without any instigation and bit him repeatedly.
He sustained puncture wounds to the head, chest and legs, deep wounds to both arms, and pieces of both earlobes were missing.
After the attack, he had to undergo a complete amputation of the left arm, right up to the shoulder.
In his plea, van Meyeren had initially denied that it was his dogs that had attacked Cloete.
Dogs put down
He stated in the plea that while out, an intruder had attempted to break open the front door of his home and broke open the locked gates which had kept the dogs away from the street.
"It is therefore denied that the defendant acted wrongfully," he said, adding that the dogs were domesticated.
Attorney of record Wilma van der Bank, for Cloete, said that it had since been admitted by the defendant that it was his three dogs that attacked Cloete, contrary to their domesticated nature, but he still maintained that an intruder opened the gate to the property.
Advocate Pieter Mouton is representing Cloete in court and final arguments are expected to be delivered on Thursday.
The Herald reported that the three dogs were put down.
Van der Bank told News24 that dog owners had an enormous responsibility in ensuring their animals were secured behind closed and locked gates at all times.
"This case is particularly important as there is so much crime in this country at the moment that dog owners are trying to protect their property and lives by having fierce animals," she said.
"While this is understandable, they also have a duty to ensure that these animals protect them and their property without posing a danger to innocent members of the public."
She said Cloete was suffering psychologically.
"The trauma of this event and its sequelae have irrevocably changed his life."