Owner vanished without apology in wake of Flinders dog attack

HYSTERICAL: Brooke Wightman tried in vain to stop the attack on her nine-year-old pet, Coco. Picture: Robert Peet
HYSTERICAL: Brooke Wightman tried in vain to stop the attack on her nine-year-old pet, Coco. Picture: Robert Peet

A Flinders pet is lucky to be alive following a horrifying dog attack at an off-leash reserve.

Brooke Wightman thought she was witnessing the death of her dog Coco, as two off-leash black labradors seized the little Jack Russell Terrier at Bass Point late Monday. 

Coco’s body was peppered with deep, bloody punctures as the bigger canines repeatedly tore into her.

“I was hysterical,” Miss Wightman said. 

“I was able to knock one off her, but then the other would go back to her – it was a never-ending cycle,” Miss Wightman said. 

“I was powerless. I thought they were going to kill her.” 

Miss Wightman said the attack ended when the dogs’ owner appeared and, after a while, brought them under control.

She said the woman initially asked if Coco was alright, but also became angry at Miss Wightman, telling her: “stop screaming”. 

Miss Wightman said the woman, aged in her 40s, led her dogs into her car and departed without apology while the injured Coco was being collected.

“[Coco], was shuffling away,” Miss Wightman said. 

“She was quiet. She wasn’t moving much, just staring at me.

“Finally, when she did not see me as a threat, I was able to pick her up. I think she was in shock.”

Miss Wightman is calling on dog owners to stay within sight of their animals on off-leash areas. 

She said she would welcome an apology – and payment – from the vanished labrador owner.

Coco required almost $400 worth of veterinary treatment.

Another potentially costly visit looms, with a lump in the dog’s chest to be investigated. 

The attack occurred about 8.10pm Monday, a short distance from the Bass Point Gravel loader.

Miss Wightman believes the labradors ran straight out of the woman’s car, unsupervised. 

She has provided a statement to Shellharbour City Council rangers, who are investigating the attack.

A council spokeswoman called on anyone with information about the attack to come forward. 

“If the attacking dog's owner can be identified, council rangers could take action based on the evidence provided, that would range from written warning notices or fines or the issuing of a menacing or dangerous dog declaration (as well as fines),” she said.

“Those declarations would then require the attacking dog's owners to comply with stricter control regimes.”

To aid the rangers’ investigation, contact Shellharbour City Council on 4221 6111 and cite REQ00510/2016 as a reference.