South Portland woman hopes owner of unruly dog will come forward

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SOUTH PORTLAND A local woman who was injured by a dog on Willard Beach two months ago is still searching for the owner.

While playing with her 5-year-old border collie mix, Tess, around 8:30 p.m. June 24, Sharon McIntyre said, a large dog “came up from behind and ran full tilt” into her, taking her legs from underneath.

McIntyre, who doesn’t have a clear description of the dog, believes it was a yellow Labrador or Lab mix, weighing about 70 to 80 pounds. She landed on her shoulder, and at first had no idea of the extent of her injuries.

But she broke her collar bone and fractured a rib. McIntyre also fears she may have torn her rotator cuff.

She said the woman who owned the dog did not see the collision, but when she was told about the incident she asked if McIntyre was OK. At first, McIntyre thought she was alright, but after the woman and her dog left, she realized she was injured, and sought medical care.

“I truly don’t think she left knowing that I was on my way to the emergency room,” McIntyre said of the dog owner. 

McIntyre speculated the dog may have been chasing a ball when it plowed into her. “I’m 100 percent sure her dog wasn’t being aggressive.”

McIntyre planned to put up signs at the beach this week seeking the owner’s identity. 

She’s asking anyone who saw the incident and/or knows the identity of the dog owner to get in touch with her at 939-4460 or smcintyre1@maine.rr.com

McIntyre also spoke with Animal Control Officer Corey Hamilton, but he told her there’s nothing his department can do without a description of the dog or its owner.

McIntyre is still undergoing physical therapy for her injuries and said her collar bone isn’t healing. A special education technician during the school year, she was not able to work either in a summer school program or as an Uber driver due to her injuries. 

McIntyre said she is concerned that if she ends up needing surgery she will miss work again. And although she has insurance, she has been left with deductibles and co-pays. She said she’s not interested in suing the dog owner, but is hoping the owner has liability insurance to help with some of her medical expenses.

She also said she loves bringing dogs to the beach and does not want them banned, but says other dog owners need to control their animals. 

Dogs are allowed on Willard Beach from 7-9 a.m. and 7- 9 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30, but must either be leashed or under voice control.

“I’m torn. I love the privilege. It is certainly not isolated that dogs are being out of control,” McIntyre said. “My feeling is 90 percent of the people who come here do an amazing job.” 

“We need more education,” she continued. “Perhaps their dog’s behavior is not what they consider out of control. Maybe aggression is what they consider out of control.”

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Sharon McIntyre, 55, with her dog Tess, a collie mix, at Willard Beach in South Portland.

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  • Mainer1

    Careful, dog walking is a contact sport!