Beach driver kills dog
By ALEX EASTON
KARLA Priestly and her three-year-old daughter Jazmyne were running into the water at South Golden Beach for one last swim when the ute hit their dog. The year-old labrador boxer cross, Hunny, had been following them into the water and was standing on the spot where the two had, moments before, finished building a sand castle. Karla's partner and Jazmyne's father, Joe Ravesi, said he saw the white table-top ute bounce over his dog, slow for a moment and then, as he cried out, take off again. "I called out to him 'you just hit my dog' and he just looked at me . . . just glared at me . . . for a good space of time," said Joe, who had been standing only a few metres away when Hunny was run over. The couple rushed the pup to their car and took him to the Billinudgel vet, but Hunny died a few hours later from massive internal bleeding. "She was a gorgeous, loyal dog," Joe said. "She was still just a baby . . . she was part of the family." Joe and Karla said the ute appeared to be going about 50km/h when it hit Hunny and that it could just as easily have been Jazmyne or a sunbather killed. That stretch of beach included a dog exercise area, popular with both residents and holiday-makers, and was busy at the time. A body-boarder on the beach later told Joe and Karla he had stopped the ute and spoken to the driver, who Joe said looked about 45 or 50-years-old. "You know you just hit a dog?" the body-boarder asked the driver. "What can I do about it? They're not going to want me there," the man responded. The driver told the body-boarder he had two dogs of his own. "So you can understand what they're going through," the body-boarder responded. At that point, Joe and Karla said, the driver got 'a bit aggressive' and the body-boarder backed off. Usually the only cars seen on the beach were the occasional police car or council car, which moved very slowly. Police cars usually had their lights flashing to add to their visibility. "It's the last place you would expect your dog to be run over," Joe said. Byron Shire Council Planning Development and Environmental Services director, Ray Darney, said the only civilians able to get beach permits for their vehicles were professional fishers, and then only to put their boats in the water, and disabled people who would otherwise be unable to get to the beach. The incident had been reported to Mullumbimby police, along with the first three letters of the man's licence plate. Joe and Karla said the incident had shocked the South Golden Beach community and many residents were now watching out for the ute and its driver, who was regularly seen on the beach collecting pippies. "I just want to get the $300 back that I had to pay to the vet and whatever the police can do if he's not licensed, and then an apology. At least that," Joe said. "I'm just spewing about it. We miss her heaps, mate. She was a dog, but she was a part of our family. "It would have been different if he'd stopped and said 'Jeez, I'm sorry' or whatever. "I'm not going to kick the crap out of him or something. I just want a resolution. I just need some closure. . . . At least he can give us an apology."