Hunt for beach at­tacker

DOG OWNER LEFT WITH FA­CIAL IN­JURIES AF­TER AS­SAULT

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Bryce Luff

A GOS­NELLS man out for a Sun­day stroll was left with mul­ti­ple fa­cial frac­tures af­ter be­ing struck with a stick at CY O’Con­nor Beach in North Coogee.

Gary Tay­lor and his wife were walk­ing their ger­man shep­herd north by the ship­wreck about 10am on March 13 when they were passed by a man walk­ing a staffy in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

Mr Tay­lor said the staffy tried to take a stick his dog was car­ry­ing be­fore both dogs be­gan bark­ing and things turned sour.

“Lit­er­ally within sec­onds this other dog owner started kick­ing my dog in the ribs re­ally vi­ciously,” he said.

“They were three full swings, like he was kick­ing a foot­ball.”

The 58-year-old, want­ing to pro­tect his dog, said he placed a hand on the other man’s shoul­der and asked him to “stop kick­ing my dog”.

“His re­ply to that was, ‘Why? Do you want some?’,” he said.

Mr Tay­lor said he took his hand away from the man’s shoul­der and was lean­ing down to grab his dog by the col­lar to pull him away.

“That’s when I saw him bend down and pick up the stick,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“With all the force he could, he hit me on the left side of my face.”

Mr Tay­lor said he was knocked back and mo­men­tar­ily stunned.

What he could not see or feel im­me­di­ately was the dam­age, with the strike leav­ing him with what doc­tors said was a 25mm in­dent on the left side of his face.

“I put my hands up and I could feel all the bones crunch­ing to­gether and out of place, but there was no pain at that stage,” the pro­fes­sional wheel aligner said.

“The man then pulled his dog away and walked off.”

Two plates were needed to re­pair four frac­tures around his left eye and a trip to the den­tist was needed to fix a chipped tooth.

Mr Tay­lor said there were at least two wit­nesses, one of whom of­fered to help.

At the time, he said he was in shock and just wanted to leave the beach.

A month on, po­lice are still search­ing for the al­leged cul­prit.

Mr Tay­lor said he was keen for him to come for­ward. “I’d like him to be brave enough to bring him­self in and ac­cept the con­se­quences for what he’s done,” he said.

“This is life-chang­ing to me. I’ve been off work for four weeks now.

“All I did was put my hand on the guy’s shoul­der to ask him to stop kick­ing my dog.

“It’s per­fectly nor­mal to not want some­one to kick your dog.”

Cock­burn po­lice have con­firmed they are search­ing for the man re­spon­si­ble and would like to speak to wit­nesses.

Mr Tay­lor hopes to re­turn to work this week, but has to wait another month to speak to his sur­geon about any long-term ef­fects.

“At this stage it doesn’t feel like my face,” he said.

“It’s numb; it be­comes quite painful at times. My left eye runs quite a lot.

“My nose feels blocked with a cold, although I’m not sick. There’s a lot of pres­sure. It’s a hard thing to de­scribe.”

Cock­burn’s re­cre­ation and com­mu­nity safety man­ager Rob Avard said the in­ci­dent was a mat­ter for po­lice, though the City’s rangers and CoSafe would as­sist po­lice where they could.

“CY O’Con­nor is a des­ig­nated dog beach with ap­pro­pri­ate sig­nage in place,” he said.

“The City ad­vises pet own­ers to make sure their dog is un­der con­trol even when in an off-leash area, in or­der to pre­vent any con­flict with other dogs and other peo­ple.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion should call Cock­burn Po­lice on 9418 9777.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek d452198

Gary Tay­lor with the stick used to at­tack him and (in­set) the in­jury it caused.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d452198

Gary Tay­lor, hold­ing the stick he was struck with, at the beach where the at­tack oc­curred.

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