Autistic man set upon by dog

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 07:11 19/02/2014
Dogbite
Distressed: A cellphone picture of the injuries sustained by Waikawa man Jesse Sim in a dog attack
Philip Sim
Derek Flynn
Jesse's father Philip Sim

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An autistic man's daily walk to help ease his social anxiety turned into a nightmare when he was attacked by a bull mastiff boxer cross.

Jesse Sim suffered a 10-centimetre gash and puncture marks to his right arm after the dog jumped him from behind and bit into his upper arm.

The 32-year-old, who also suffers from severe hearing problems, had broken the same arm two weeks earlier arm wrestling with his father.

Jesse was taking his daily walk along Waikawa Rd when the dog attacked him on the footpath, while another dog circled.

Marlborough District Council compliance manager Garth Congdon said two bull mastiff boxer crosses had been seized by council's animal control. The 8-year-old male dogs were both registered.

There had been no previous incidents involving either dog and their future would be decided pending the outcome of an investigation, Mr Congdon said.

Jesse was attacked about 1.30pm on Monday.

His father Philip Sim said his daily walks had become an outlet to help his social isolation.

He knew immediately that his son needed hospital treatment.

"We were really concerned because he was very agitated. He was complaining his arm was sore but he didn't want to go to hospital."

Part of his son's condition was an extreme fear of doctors and the police, prompting him to become increasingly distressed.

Jesse ran from the family home through Endeavour Park towards Snout Track and into bush, with his father and family friend Amai Thompson in pursuit.

Concerned for his son's safety, Mr Sim called police, sparking a search party.

Picton and Blenheim police, search and rescue, fire brigade and a police sniffer dog were involved in the search.

Jesse was located shortly after 9pm on Rohe Dr and taken by ambulance to Wairau Hospital in Blenheim for treatment.

Philip and his wife Cathy Sim said they were thankful to the emergency services and their friend for leading the search.

"We were worried he could have come to harm in the bush. We would like to thank the ambulance staff, search and rescue, police and the fire brigade. Without their help we would never have found him," Mrs Sim said.

"One of the Picton ambulance crew changed into plain clothes so she could build a rapport with Jesse and the hospital staff were absolutely fantastic."

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Mr and Mrs Sim have been asked to write a victim-impact statement as part of an investigation into the attack. "It must have been horrific for Jesse to be attacked on an arm he had already broken. If it was my dog I would want it destroyed. It can't be trusted," Mrs Sim said.

Mr Sim said he wasn't sure how the attack would affect his son.

"Jesse is an animal lover. He can't understand why this has happened. We hope he hasn't lost his trust in other animals."

- The Marlborough Express

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