Walk along beach turns into nightmare for Waikiki woman and her dog


Sue Wetherill with Beeb. Picture: Jon Hewson
Sue Wetherill with Beeb. Picture: Jon Hewson

IT was meant to be just another walk along the beach, but for Waikiki woman Susan Wetherill and her 10-year-old rescue dog Beeb, the day took a bloody turn for the worse.

Beeb was victim of what Ms Wetherill says was an unprovoked dog attack at the popular Safety Bay dog beach.

“We go twice a day usually, it’s got to be really bad weather for us not to go,” she said.

“It was just another trip to the beach, then two men and a woman came walking towards me with a big rottweiler and a big alsatian,”

“They started running, and (Beeb) tried to get back to me but that was it, the rottweiler got her on the backside.”

Ms Wetherill said she tried to intervene but could not stop her golden retriever cross from sustaining a nasty wound on her back.

“I was trying to get my hand in between (the dog and Beeb)… the vet said it was lucky the wound wasn’t near her neck and her face,” she said.

To make matters worse, when the fight eventually broke, the owners of the dogs responsible refused numerous requests to exchange information with Ms Wetherill, only adding to her worries.

“The men never said a word to me but the woman did and she was really quite rude, I said ‘give me your name and address’… she said ‘no, I’m not giving you an address,’” she said.

“Then they all walked off, that was it.

“I was quite hysterical because I was scared; both the dogs were bigger than her.

“Beeb was shaking so I sat on the beach for five minutes with her to try and get her to stop.”

However, the woman later approached Ms Wetherill, not to give her details, but instead to inspect the damage done to Beeb.

“I could already see the blood coming through; she’s shaved now but normally she has quite a thick coat so I knew there was a lot for it to come through so quickly,” she said.

“She got hold of Beeb’s bum and said ‘oh there’s nothing wrong with that dog, take it home and look after it’ but when I saw the big tear in there when I got her to the vet I thought that must have really hurt her.

“She’s still limping, she’s got arthritis and (it hurt her) when the dog bumped into her.”

While the owners of the other dogs left the scene having not given Ms Wetherill any contact information she had noted the license plate of their car.

After rushing Beeb to the vet, Ms Wetherill contacted police who forwarded the case to City of Rockingham Rangers.

It took eight hours at the vet for Beeb to be treated, firstly on a drip for six hours to combat shock and secondly to go under light anaesthetic to clean up the wound, coming to a cost of around $1100.

During Beeb’s recovery, Ms Wetherill received a phone call from the Rangers telling her no further action would be taken against the owners or the dogs as it was their first offence.

“I said ‘you’re joking?’… I was disgusted with the people and the dogs, and then with the council. It’s adding insult to injury. If she had been smaller it would have been dreadful,” she said.

However, City of Rockingham appears to have made a U-turn, with Mayor Barry Sammels confirming the owners received a $600 fine.

“The City takes its responsibilities under the Dog Act very seriously and dog attacks are investigated in significant detail,” he said.

“Deciding which penalties apply depends on several factors which are assessed as part as of the detailed investigation process.

“The City has completed its investigation of this incident and issued infringements to the owner. Total fines imposed amounted to $600.”

Despite Mr Sammels saying the owners had accepted full responsibility, including paying vet fees, Ms Wetherill said she was yet to hear from the other owners.

She said she would consider being reimbursed.