Rebecca Beale’s forearm and hand, showing bites.
Rebecca Beale’s forearm and hand, showing bites.

Dingo attacks pregnant woman

A PREGNANT Byron Bay woman is concerned for her unborn child after she was viciously attacked by a dingo last week.

Rebecca Beale, 30, had just taken out the rubbish at her Bangalow Road home last Tuesday afternoon when she saw a dingo in her front yard. As she stopped to pick up her cat the dingo attacked her.

Ms Beale, who is 20 weeks pregnant, suffered a fractured finger, an arm covered in lacerations and a swollen hand in the attack. She is now worrying whether her pregnancy will be normal.

“I saw the dingo near my cat so I thought I'd better pick it up, and that is when the dog bolted at me,” Ms Beale said.

“It pulled me to the ground and I was trying to get up as I was worried it was going to get to my face.

“The dingo was just hanging on to my hand, chewing on it. It was disgusting and really scary.

“I was trying to put my hand on the ground so I wouldn't fall on my stomach.”

Ms Beale was saved when her partner, Kirk Scarborough, heard her screaming and hit the dingo with a plank of wood. Neighbours intervened and cornered the dog in the front yard.

She was taken to hospital and felt relieved when she saw her baby's heart still beating.

“I went into complete shock at the hospital, which was causing stress for the baby, and hospital staff were trying to calm me down,” she said. “I am 20 weeks along and I had really bad stomach pains last night.

“This is my first pregnancy, so I don't know what is going on in my stomach and I just hope my baby is okay.”

Ms Beale, a barista, has had to take two weeks off work and has paid hundreds of dollars in medical bills for herself and veterinary bills for her cat, which suffered a sprained leg in the attack.

The dingo had been domesticated and is the pet of a resident in Ms Beale's street, which is legal under State legislation.

Ms Beale's father, Bob Beale, was told the dingo is not going to be put down because it is a canis lupus dingo, which is protected under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 as a legal pet.

Different legislation for control of dingoes governs different parts of the State, but dingoes are both loved and hated. They are hated by farmers who despise wild dogs for killing their stock, and loved by environmentalists who see the dingo as a precious native animal.

The dingo that attacked Ms Beale has been moved to its owner's second property at Tenterfield, but Mr Beale will not rest until an apology and compensation is given to his daughter.

“The ranger said the dog was being returned to its owner because it is a dingo,” the Ocean Shores resident said.

“Firstly, we want an apology from the owner and secondly an agreement to compensate Rebecca for her expenses.

“To get told by council it's a dingo means Azaria Chamberlain's killer is not guilty.

“I have made an application to the council about who qualified the dog as the dingo.”

Dingo law

The Rural Lands Protections Act 1998: Determines dingoes as pests that must be eradicated or decimated.

The Companion Animals Act 1998: Places dingoes as legal pets, but states pet owners are responsible for their dog's attacks on others.

Wild Dog Destruction Act 1921: Applies to western NSW where it forbids the ownership of dingoes without legal permission.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974: Protects dingoes in NSW national parks.

Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995: Protects dingoes as native species that were in Australia before colonisation.

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