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Beach fracas: Enraged woman attacks female dog-walker over unleashed canine

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Jan 2023, 9:25am
Photo / Ross Setford
Photo / Ross Setford

Beach fracas: Enraged woman attacks female dog-walker over unleashed canine

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Jan 2023, 9:25am

An Otago woman has been convicted of assault after an overzealous attempt to protect wildlife ended up with her in a judo hold.

At noon on October 19 last year a woman and her dog were enjoying a harakeke (flax) hunting mission on Waikouaiti beach when Marie Ann Humphries, 59, spotted the pair and became outraged by the sight of a dog without a lead, the Dunedin District Court heard last week.

She immediately instructed the woman to put her animal on a leash, becoming increasingly agitated when the complainant declined.

Humphries became so enraged she threw a stick in the victim’s direction, following her towards the beach walkway where the signs informing the public were located.

Waikouaiti beach has clear signage indicating dogs are allowed off their leash but must be leashed when there is wildlife present.

As the victim approached the sign she began reading aloud while taking a video on her phone.

Humphries proceeded to attack the woman from behind and a struggle ensued.

The scuffle ended up with Humphries in a judo hold, pulling the victim’s hair as she was taken to the ground.

When Humphries was released from the hold, she left the beach with her daughter and dog.

The victim experienced swelling and discomfort to her head above the right temple, the court heard.

She was transported by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital where she had delayed concussion and vomiting.

Defence counsel Libby Hadlow said Humphries had seen a seal further down the beach which played into her offending.

While she expressed remorse for her actions, Judge David Robinson addressed Humphries directly, and said the “incident did not reflect very well on you”.

Judge Robinson gave Humphries a deferred sentence of 12 months imprisonment and ordered her to pay the victim $250.

- Erin Cox, ODT

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