A 3-year-old boy is in Tauranga Hospital with serious facial
injuries after a pitbull dog attacked him.
The dog attacked the boy at a Matapihi property about 8.40am
yesterday and police say they are investigating because of
the serious nature of the boy's injuries.
It is believed the boy was visiting the Waikari Rd property
with his family. The child was playing in a yard in which the
dog was secured on a chain.
St John Ambulance officers attended and took the boy to
Animal control officers seized the dog and police were
investigating whether it had a history of violence.
Details of the full extent of the child's injuries had not
been released last night.
Police spokeswoman Kim Perks told the Bay of Plenty Times
police would be seeking answers from witnesses and medical
experts as to the extent of the injuries, how many times the
boy was bitten, how long the attack lasted and at what point
did someone intervene or whether the boy was able to get away
from the animal.
Police would also look at any registration documents relating
to the property. "We will then have to make sure that any
registration documents actually match the dog involved in the
attack," she said.
Police were yet to talk to the child's family and the dog's
owners in detail and it remained unclear whether charges
would be laid.
"It is too early to speculate on whether there might be
charges or what they would be until we know more about the
circumstances of the attack."
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the pitbull
was normally tied up but was known to run at people who were
"I would say the dog was tied up, he [the owner] normally
ties it up because school kids go past, and some kid went up
"It would come out when people would cross [the property]. It
doesn't bite them, it runs at them," the neighbour said.
The neighbour believed the dog had been living there about a
year and young children were often around the property.
- By Ruth Keber of the Bay of Plenty Times