While at the same time Magistrate John Parker castigated the dog’s owner for not even bothering to turn up to cop a $2,000 fine and $1,500 in court costs.
Noosa builder Dion Gadd on the afternoon of June 6 last year crash-tackled the frenzied dog that was mauling Julie Harris’s left arm in the basement carpark of the Noosa News building at Noosa Junction.
She was also bitten on her other hand and arms, legs and tail bone.
But before the charge against Jo-Ann Tesch proceeded in her absence, Ms Harris gave Mr Gadd her heartfelt thanks.
“It took a special person to pull me out of the jaws of that dog and you were that special person.
“I want you know that if you didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
“You saved me and that’s what matters – you know how close it was to going right through the bone.
“One more crunch – that’s all it would have taken – just one more crunch.”
Ms Harris compared Mr Gadd’s actions to “jumping in the water and taking me out of the mouth of an eight foot tiger shark”.
Mr Gadd tried to shrug off the attention.
“I know dogs and once it latched on to Julie it was not interested in me on anyone else.”
The magistrate also noted it took considerable bravery for Mr Gadd to put his fingers in the dog’s mouth to eventually free Ms Harris after a four-minute ordeal in which she saw the dog swallow pieces of her flesh.
Mr Parker ordered the Noosa Council case against Ms Tesch proceed after she called to say that she would be 90 minutes late for the 9.30am start because of an appointment with a Building Services Authority official.
When a court official rang back to advise to get to court by 10.15am, she was apparently out buying milk.
Mr Parker said that Ms Tesch was treating the court in a very cavalier fashion.
Council solicitor Steve Courtney said just before the attack, Ms Harris had returned to the vehicle containing Ms Tesch and the dog.
The court heard the dog, which had exhibited earlier aggressive tendencies towards Ms Harris, may have been agitated by the fact that she had answered the phone of Ms Tesch.
When she opened the door, the dog lunged from the back of the vehicle, knocked her down and dragged her for up to 20 metres through the carpark.
Eventually it took three men to restrain the dog, which was shot at the rear of the carpark by a police officer on the order of a police inspector.
Mr Parker found the actions of police to be appropriate under the circumstances.
He said the dog attack was aggravated by the fact that this large and strong mastiff was of a breed noted for its fighting qualities and Ms Tesch had not properly restrained it.
Mr Parker said that the dog owner had showed no remorse while Ms Harris now suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome and an adjustment disorder.
He said the victim’s arm would never be the same again and would require skin grafts.
Ms Harris, who has had three operations since the attack and is unsure about undergoing more than $50,000 worth of plastic surgery.
The court was told that civil action is being taken in this matter.
(sunshinecoastdaily.com.au - November 28, 2007)