Sina Murti was taken to hospital with injuries to her ear and leg. Photo / Included
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
A mother of five from Auckland lost part of her ear after being attacked by a dog while delivering for Uber Eats.
Alvin Murti was helping his wife Sina with her Uber food deliveries on Friday night when she was mauled by a dog at a property in Manurewa.
Alvin describes the dog as a “medium-sized pit bull” and says it came under the gate while Sina was delivering food at the house.
“It was like a scene in a movie where someone gets mauled by a dog,” he said.
“It happened in just 30 seconds, it happened so fast. My wife is a strong woman and he is [the dog] shook her down.”
“He wasn’t barking or growling or anything, he just came and bit her leg and started shaking it and then dropped her and went right for her throat … and grabbed a chunk of her ear.”
Sina said Uber Eats’ delivery instructions didn’t mention a dog — it simply said “deliver to door.”
She said the dogs didn’t bark and she didn’t feel threatened about getting out of the car.
“I got the shock of my life when it bit me and shook me to the ground,” she said.
“It was like an out of body experience – I could hear myself screaming but I didn’t know what to do. I just panicked.”
Despite recovering from knee surgery, Alvin was able to get out of the car and spray the dog with throttle body cleaner, a solution he happened to have from his job as a car mechanic.
“If I wasn’t there in a few seconds, my wife would be dead because that dog was going for her throat,” he said.
Alvin said one of the owners apologized and said they would have the dog euthanized, but no one else in the area came to help.
An ambulance was called, but Alvin said he ended up having to drive Sina to Middlemore Hospital himself.
St John Ambulance confirmed they had received a call at 8.34pm on Friday about an incident involving an animal at Randwick Park, South Auckland.
A St. John’s spokeswoman said the patient’s condition appeared serious but not life-threatening.
“A clinician at St. John’s Clinical Hub advised that it is safe and appropriate for the patient to arrange for self-transport to the hospital,” she said.
Sina was hospitalized until Sunday morning, when she was discharged with an ear amputation noted on her discharge paper.
She required stitches on both her leg and ear, and her leg will remain in a splint for at least 10 days. She said they will be returning to the hospital in a week so a plastic surgeon can assess if there is any permanent damage to her ear.
Sina had been working part-time for Uber Eats to supplement her income during maternity leave from her usual job as a healthcare worker. She contacted Uber shortly after the incident and they responded to her via email.
Uber responded that they would assist the police in investigating the incident and would make their own assessment of the situation.
“Here at Uber, we take your delivery experience and safety very seriously,” the response reads.
“It is important to us to ensure that our drivers are safe, respected and comfortable and we take any incident that compromises this safety very seriously.
“We will investigate this incident and re-evaluate whether this user will continue to have access to the app.”
Uber also suggested that Alvin and Sina contact the local council and when Alvin called the police they also referred him to Auckland City Council’s Animal Welfare Agency.
Elly Waitoa, head of animal services at Auckland City Council, said the incident was reported to them by the complainant on Saturday but they were unable to comment specifically on it during the inquiry.
“When Auckland City Council receives a notification of a dog attack, our first priority is to ensure the dog is contained or secured to prevent further incidents,” she said.
“Depending on the severity and circumstances of the attack, this may include confiscation of the dog and placement in one of our shelters.”
She said the investigating officer will then conduct a full investigation and take statements from everyone involved.
“If an attack caused serious injury, or if the dog and/or owner had a significant history of aggression, the officer would then complete a full law enforcement record for our legal team to review,” she said.
“Minor incidents are sometimes treated as rights violations.
“We would like to remind people to ensure their dog is under control at all times to prevent incidents like this.”
Alvin and Sina described the attack as “terrifying” and wished for more help at the time.
“I called the ambulance and they didn’t come, and the neighbors – they looked through the windows but nobody was there to help,” Alvin said.
“I don’t want anyone, especially a woman, to be hurt by a dog like that and there’s no one around to help them.”
“It was terrifying, there are no words. I couldn’t get the images out of my head… it’s over the top and played.”