An 18-month-old baby has been savaged by the family pitbull, in one of the worst dog attacks seen by hospital emergency staff.
Research by a Middlemore Hospital emergency nurse has revealed 65 children were so seriously injured by dog bites in the past year that they were brought from around New Zealand to the hospital, which specialises in plastic surgery for serious facial injuries.
Donelle Whiu, a charge nurse and dog behaviourist, measured the injuries on the internationally recognised Dunbar Dog Bite Scale, on which level 1 indicates a minor injury and 6 a fatality.
Whiu said the baby's case highlighted a finding from her research that 63 per cent of dogs that bit children were known to the family.
In one case in five the dog concerned was the family pet. Only 9 per cent of attacks were by strange animals.
She said: "People are more at risk at home than on the streets."
IMPORTANT reading for those who think that their dog can't bite their family member!
Great to see that the Dr Dunbar's dog bite scale is getting some media because this is EXACTLY what we need to keep track of... in our statistics. Thank you Donelle for bringing this to the media.