Dog attack victims share ‘petrifying’ story and call for justice

A Coodanup resident has recounted the “petrifying” moment a “rabid” rottweiler left her $1800 out of pocket in vet bills – and having nightmares every second night.

The victims have asked for their surnames to remain anonymous so the offender cannot locate them.

Angela said she was walking her dog on-a-lead with her friend, on Peel Parade on April 16. 

She said her friend, Shirley, was also walking her Shih Tzu, Maxi, and Cairn Terrier, Petal, on a lead. 

Angela said what happened next was “absolutely petrifying”. 

Shirley's injuries. Photo: Supplied.

Shirley's injuries. Photo: Supplied.

“In the distance, I saw these two dogs come bowling out of the bushes,” she said. 

“One was a rottweiler-cross-doberman and the other, a mastiff. The rottweiler just hooked into Shirley’s dog – it was absolutely petrifying.”

Shirley said Angela managed to pull Petal from the dog’s grasp and run to a nearby home.

It was just rabid.

Victim Shirley's husband Noel.

“But then he grabbed my shih tzu and was just ripping her apart,” she said. 

“I couldn’t get him off. I had my hands and wrist chewed. 

“Another man came to help me and he got bitten as well.”

Shirley said the man managed to secure the dog with a lead and tie it to a pole, while they waited for the rangers. 

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Shirley called her husband Noel who came shortly after and said the dog was “out of control”. 

“It was just rabid,” he said. “Even the guy who came and helped said he’d never seen anything like it – there was no hesitation.”

Angela said she had a heart aneurysm from the stress and will have to take medication for the rest of her life.

Shirley said she was hospitalised for four-days from her hand injuries and has nightmares every second night.

“I find it hard to talk about it,” she said.

They said he was not very well off financially and couldn’t afford to pay the fines, so there was no point in taking him to court.

Angela

The rottweiler was euthanised and the owner was fined $1600. 

Angela said Mandurah rangers were helpful, but the owner should have been taken to court. 

“They said he was not very well off financially and couldn’t afford to pay the fines, so there was no point in taking him to court,” she said. 

“They said it would be better for her (Shirley) to try and get the vet bills.

In this case we made the decision the substantial fine and the death of his dog was punishment enough, particularly as he has expressed a willingness to pay vet fees.

City of Mandurah spokesman

“But there’s no deterrent to anyone if people don’t prosecute because people don’t know that it’s happening.”

Shirley said she had not received the vet bill of more than $1800. 

A City of Mandurah spokesman said it was a sad and difficult case.

“When deciding whether to fine or take someone to court our rangers have to weigh up a number of factors including the severity of the attack, and the history of the offending animal,” he said. 

“If there are significant vet bills we also weigh up the ability of the owner of the offending dog to pay.

“In this case we made the decision the substantial fine and the death of his dog was punishment enough, particularly as he has expressed a willingness to pay vet fees.

“Our rangers made the judgement that if he was taken to court and possibly given a bigger fine that this would likely mean that he would not be able to afford to pay the vet fees.”

The spokesman said Angela also had the option of taking the dog owner to court.