Tara Road in Mangawhai. Photo / Google Maps
A family dog has been destroyed after a toddler suffered critical injuries in an attack at home.
A 2-year-old was critically injured during the incident and remains in hospital.
The dog who caused the injuries to the child was “seized” by Kaipara District Council animal control in the wake of the attack and later put down, a police spokeswoman said today.
The attack happened around 1pm yesterday with police called to a home on Tara Rd in Mangawhai, about an hour north of Auckland.
The call reporting a “dog attack” brought police to the house. The nature of the injuries led to an emergency rescue helicopter call to fly the child to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.
The police spokeswoman said “the incident is not being treated as suspicious”.
“The dog belonged to the family and lived at the address and has since been seized by Animal Control and destroyed.”
Kaipara mayor Craig Jepson said the district – which includes Mangawhai – had a dog problem but so did the rest of the country.
”Everyone has an issue,” he said. “It’s on all councils to grapple with.”
Jepson said a friend of his was victim to another recent serious dog attack.
He said people needed to contact the council if they were concerned about particular dogs and for dog owners to ensure they registered their dogs.
He said Kaipara council had increased its efforts to target dog problems, including targeting problem areas.
”It makes you sharpen your approach. I think these incidents in New Zealand are going to continue.”
Jepson said such an attack was “a terrible thing to happen to a 2-year-old”.
“I hope the child comes through that.”
While Jepson acknowledged dog control was an issue, he said the circumstances in which the child was attacked were not known other than the dog was a family pet.
”We’ve been told as a council to pause our investigation so police can do their investigation.”
Radio NZ reported this month that ACC figures showed the Far North District had the highest number of ACC claims with 427 ACC claims in the 2022-23 year.
That number of attacks was at a rate of 5.88 dog-related injuries per 1000 people per year – more than double the national average, and significantly higher than Northland’s two other districts, which includes Kaipara.
Effie Whittaker, 78, died after an attack last month while hanging out washing at her home in Moerewa near Kaikohe in Northland. The dog involved belonged to someone at her home.
The fatal attack followed the death of Northland man Neville Thomson in August 2022 who was killed at home on the outskirts of Panguru, in north Hokianga, by dogs belonging to a visiting friend.