Dog drags boy, 4, by head in horror attack

Shepherd Mea has been moved to a ward from intensive care but more operations will be needed to deal with his wounds.
Shepherd Mea has been moved to a ward from intensive care but more operations will be needed to deal with his wounds. Katarina Kopa

A CHILD attacked by a dog at his Auckland home was grabbed by the head and dragged around the backyard, his mother and grandmother say.

Shepherd Mea, 4, suffered multiple bite wounds to his head, including his face, in the attack late on Saturday afternoon behind his home in Beatty St, Otahuhu.

Yesterday, Shepherd was moved from the intensive care unit at Middlemore Hospital, where his condition was serious but stable, to one of the hospital's Kidz First children's wards.

His mother, Katarina Kopa, who lives elsewhere in Otahuhu with her own mother, Ngawai Henare-Hohepa, said her boy, whom she calls "Little Man", had had one operation and more were expected.


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Ms Henare-Hohepa said Shepherd's father, Orlando, had described the attack to her.

"He was cooking dinner. Little Man was playing out the back. He just heard him screaming. The dog was barking a lot. He went running out and the dog had his [Shepherd's] head in his mouth.

The dog was thrashing him around in his mouth. All the injuries are around his head and face.

"He was being dragged around.

"He [Orlando] grabbed a shovel and started smashing the dog. The dog ran and attacked him. He managed to get the dog away from his son and he picked his son up and rang the ambulance straight away."

Ms Kopa, 23, who has three other children, said after seeing her boy in hospital yesterday: "He's all right. He's way better than yesterday. He's awake and he can talk a little bit.

"The first thing he said to me was, 'Mummy, the dog bit me'.

"A plastic surgeon came to talk to me. They have already done some stitches. They said there's a serious one [wound] at the back of his head."

One eye had been injured and a nerve damaged.

Ms Kopa said she was "mad and sad" about the attack but "I'm just glad that he is alive".

She said people should not be permitted to have violent dogs.

People at the Beatty St house yesterday said the boy's family were not there. The large, brown dog is reportedly a pitbull.

An Auckland Council spokeswoman said Animal Control Services had taken the dog and was investigating the incident. A decision had not been made on whether it would be put down.

A Beatty St neighbour said she noticed the "quite massive" dog a fortnight ago and stopped her 6-year-old son from playing in their own backyard because the wire-netting fence was not secure.

Topics:  dog attack editors picks emergency services

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