A routine beach walk with her miniature fox terrier ended in tragedy for Kay Hamilton when a speeding quad bike hit and killed the 8-month-old dog.
As she picked up the dying Rosie from the sand of Haumoana beach on Thursday night Ms Hamilton was abused by the bike's rider, who felt she was to blame.
"He walked up to me and started swearing and abusing me," she said. "I asked him why he had been going so fast but he just said I should have had Rosie on a leash and told me to f... off."
Dogs are allowed to be unleashed on that stretch of beach, under Hastings District Council bylaws, according to a council spokesman.
Ms Hamilton, a nurse in the Hawke's Bay Hospital emergency department, had taken Rosie on their regular hour-long beach from her Beach Rd house about 8.30pm when she heard the shrill noise of a motorbike "at full throttle".
She saw the dark outline of the bike approaching quickly from the east and felt sure it would slow down as it neared.
"There was a couple with a young child of about 5 between me and the bike. I thought the bike would slow before reaching them, but it didn't.
"There was no time to do anything. I heard the thump then I saw Rosie on the beach, blood in her mouth."
There were two men and a woman on the bike. The man riding it got off and walked to Ms Hamilton before abusing her. She said he was white, about 1.75 metres tall, possibly in his 30s, with short, dark hair and a piercing near one of his eyes.
The quad bike was dark, possibly blue, she said, and was going "well over 50[kmh]. It was full throttle".
The speed limit on that stretch of the beach is 20kmh.
"I'm not anti-quad bikes," Ms Hamilton said. "I just can't understand how someone could think it was reasonable to go that fast near people."
Ms Hamilton had owned Rosie for about six months. "She was the most beautiful little creature. Friendly to everyone, a real livewire. I miss her incredibly."
Ms Hamilton has spoken to police informally and intends to make an official complaint today.
New Zealand Transport Agency records show there have been 115 vehicle crashes on beaches since 2004. Of those, seven resulted in deaths, 35 in serious injury and 47 in minor injury.
Twenty-six crashes did not result in any injury. Last year was the safest, with just four minor injuries so far recorded, though an NZTA spokesman said that could yet change as 2013 figures were incomplete.
A shearer suffered serious injuries in a crash at Castlepoint beach last month. The worst year was 2005, with 20 crashes, including two fatal, six serious and seven minor. The last fatal beach crash was in 2010.
- The Dominion Post