Three people have needed surgery after pit bull attacks in Hastings over the past month, prompting fresh warnings about the breed's trustworthiness.
The latest victim is a seven-year-old boy, attacked as his mother went to feed the dog outside their home in Flaxmere on Tuesday night.
As she approached the dog, she did not realise her son was behind her. The dog, which was on a chain, lunged at the boy and bit him on the arm.
He suffered severe cuts and a large chunk was torn from his right arm.
The woman, who had owned the two-year-old dog for only three days, managed to drag it away. It was destroyed yesterday morning.
Her son was taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital, where he had surgery on his arm and was in a comfortable and improving condition yesterday.
Hastings District Council animal control officer Clynton Chadwick said the dog did not appear to be registered and had not been micro-chipped. The council was considering charging the woman.
A 59-year-old man also needed surgery after he was attacked by a pit bull-cross in Flaxmere on September 13, and an occupational therapist spent a week in hospital after a pit bull-cross attacked her at Pakipaki, south of Hastings, on August 27.
Mr Chadwick said a pit bull or pit bull-cross should never be trusted. "No animal control officers trust pit bulls. They're not like other dogs.
"I'm not sure why people get dogs like this. I mean, what is the need for a dog like that? They were specifically bred for fighting other dogs.
"When you get a pit bull biting, it's a lot more severe. Because their jaws are so powerful, they actually take a chunk out. Other breeds will take a nip then run off.
"While a lot of dogs bite, they'll just bite once. Pit bulls go into a frenzy, like an attack mode."
He said pit bulls had been a fad a few years ago, with people seeing them as status symbols, but there were fewer around now.
"Now people realise what they can do. We've had a lot of people come in and give us the dogs, saying they're scared of them."
- The Dominion Post
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