Hunt for beach attacker
DOG OWNER LEFT WITH FACIAL INJURIES AFTER ASSAULT
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.
Gary Taylor with the stick used to attack him and (inset) the injury it caused.
Gary Taylor, holding the stick he was struck with, at the beach where the attack occurred.