Neighbours race to the rescue as two dogs savage boy

"BRAVE" MEN: Mason Hiini, left, and Laurence Marks are being hailed as life-savers after they heard screams and ran to help Wade Katting, who was being attacked by two dogs.
"BRAVE" MEN: Mason Hiini, left, and Laurence Marks are being hailed as life-savers after they heard screams and ran to help Wade Katting, who was being attacked by two dogs.

Two men who went to the aid of a young boy during a dog attack are being credited with saving the child's life.

Wade Katting, 10, has had extensive surgery after two dogs tore flesh from his legs during Saturday's attack.

He was playing with another boy in bush behind his home in Hair St, Wainuiomata, when he slipped on a muddy track into a neighbour's backyard, where two french mastiffs immediately set upon him.

Wade Katting
Wade Katting

Mason Hiini, 38, who lives in the house next door, and his cousin Laurence Marks, 28, raced to Wade's aid after they heard the boy's "eerie" screams.

As soon as he saw what was happening, Mr Hiini ripped a piece of wood off some nearby boxing, "hopped the fence like Superman and whacked that dog as hard as I could".

It was "a parental thing", he said. "Who cares if it's someone else's kid? I'm just glad one person was saved."

The attack was an awful accident, he said. "We think [Wade] slipped down because kids don't have the nuts to go into that back yard. [The dogs] were probably just protecting their own."

Wade sustained serious leg wounds and was taken to Hutt Hospital for surgery. He had more surgery yesterday and was now in a satisfactory condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Acting Senior Sergeant Donna Rider, of Lower Hutt, said Mr Hiini and Mr Marks were very brave. "They may have actually saved his life."

Police were now investigating whether to lay charges against the dogs' owner, she said.

The two dogs involved had been impounded. Their owner, 43, said he was deeply sorry. "It should never have happened."

He had spent $12,000 on a 1.8-metre-high fence surrounding the property and was "absolutely shattered" that someone had still been hurt.

His five-month-old son played with the dogs and they had never hurt anyone, the man said. "I think when [Wade] fell in he might have freaked out and freaked the dogs out."

It is understood at least three other dogs live at the property.

A former neighbour said she had contacted authorities more than a year ago about the dogs.

"I'm disgusted because we let ... animal control know they had five dangerous dogs on the property. They've known this has been going on for over a year and haven't done anything about it."

Hutt City Council would not comment on how many other dogs lived at the property, whether any of them were registered and if there had been previous complaints.

"The incident is still under investigation so I haven't got any of those details," a spokesperson said.

The Dominion Post