Monday, January 23, 2012

Dogs bite children in three separate attacks

By Leighton Keith, from Stuff

A dog attack in Taranaki was one of three around the country yesterday and the Government has promised to kick-start a stalled pledge to investigate laws governing dangerous dogs.

Dog rangers seized two pitbull-type dogs from a Waitara address yesterday after a young girl was bitten.

The 11-year-old girl was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital following the attack in Mace St.

New Plymouth District Council senior animal control officer Jim Aitken said staff were called by police just after 1pm and the dogs were impounded.

"Our first priority is to get the dogs seized or secured so that they can't offend again."

Mr Aitken did not have details of the girl's injuries or where the attack had taken place.

"I can't comment on that because I believe it is a matter of dispute.The people do dispute the facts over the dog bite incident."

Mr Aitken said he hoped to interview the girl today.

Meanwhile, in Porirua a pitbull-staffordshire cross that mauled its owner's 18-month-old daughter is still alive as authorities must wait for the family's permission to destroy it.

The Porirua girl – described as a "dog-lover" – is recovering from surgery after she was savaged by her family's "mongrel cross-breed" dog.

There was also another dog attack on a child – the sixth in four weeks – yesterday in Rotorua.

A girl, 9, suffered deep cuts to her head and arm after being bitten by her neighbour's American bulldog.

She was taken to Rotorua Hospital with moderate injuries.

On Wednesday, a 3-year-old boy was bitten in the throat by a dog in Ashburton and remains in a critical condition, and on Christmas Day, a 15-month-old boy was savaged by the next door neighbour's pitbull.

Another 3-year-old boy at Auckland's Red Beach needed plastic surgery after an attack a few days before that.

Local Government Minister Nick Smith said last night he was concerned about the seriousness of the latest attacks and promised to revisit the promised investigation into rules covering dangerous dogs. The inquiry was supposed to take place last year.

His office would investigate the incidents and identify whether there were any issues that had implications for dog control legislation in relation to public safety.

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