Mad dog in Omaha puts lawyer on crutches

Shelley Sage plans to confront the offending dog owners.

Five people failing to supervise three out-of-control dogs at Omaha Beach neglected to offer a word of apology when one of their charges knocked over a pedestrian, putting her on crutches for weeks.

Auckland barrister Shelley Sage was out walking on Boxing Day when she observed the dogs hurtling about and terrorising some paradise ducks.

Later, she was walking along a boardwalk near the beach when one of the trio – a large, black dog, possibly a Labrador – came charging from behind, whacked Shelley on the back of the leg forcing her collapse onto the concrete and breaking her left kneecap.

The group of five people, comprising an older woman in a brown floral shirt, two women in their thirties and two younger people, aged about 12 to 15, stood and looked down on Shelley crumpled on the ground, then walked on without saying a word.

Shelley was so shaken she was unable to talk to them and find out who they were.

“What annoys me is they have taken no responsibility and have not the slightest qualm about their mad dog,” Shelley says.

Shelley was eventually helped to her feet by a man passing by, who allowed her to borrow his stroller so she could slowly make it back to the house she was renting for her summer holiday.

Once there, she burst into tears and sent her son-in-law out to look for the five, but he returned without success.

An MRI scan revealed that Shelley had a lateral tibial plateau fracture – a break in the upper part of the shinbone involving the knee joint.    

The injury has kept Shelley housebound since the incident, and she will likely be on crutches for several more weeks.

The injury means she is unable to go to court to work, has forced her to cancel important appointments and ruined her summer holiday.

Shelley says if the injuries had been sustained because of a motor vehicle collision, the individuals concerned could have been charged with “careless use, causing injury”, but is uncertain if similar action could be taken in respect of the dog incident.

Once Shelley can drive again, she plans to return to Omaha to see if she can find and confront the offending dog owners.

“I would say to them I want you to know the consequences of your dog’s actions and I do not admire your lack of responsibility and your lack of apology.”

Auckland Council manager of animal management Nikki Marchant-Ludlow says the Dog Control Act 1996 states that dog owners must take all reasonable steps to ensure their dog does not cause a nuisance, injure, endanger, intimidate or otherwise cause distress to any person.   

If anyone is concerned about a dog’s behaviour, or is injured or attacked by a dog, they should call Council’s Animal Management team as soon as possible on 0800 462 685.

Council will investigate and potentially prosecute negligent dog owners.

From Labour Weekend to March 1, dogs are allowed off-leash at Omaha Beach Reserve from 6.30pm until 10am. Outside of these times, dogs are not allowed in the area.


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