Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Action needed after attack

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Dylan Thorne.
Dylan Thorne.

Yet another savage dog attack on a young child has prompted calls for policymakers to review regulations around dog ownership.

In the latest case, Darnell Minarapa-Brown, 7, was attacked by his uncle's dog in Takanini on Saturday. It left him needing more than 100 facial stitches.

A metal plate also needs to be inserted into his fractured nose and cheek and he may never regain movement in his upper lip after being mauled by the pitbull.

It's hard to image the trauma such an attack causes - especially when it involves a child.

Thankfully the dog in this case has already been put down.

It follows a spate of attacks across the country and has prompted a call from the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons for more education, licensing enforcement and to ban breeding of dogs deemed dangerous.

According to two studies presented by New Zealand medical professionals last year, hospital admissions for people with dog-bite injuries average two a day.

Data also shows that over the past 10 years more than a third of these were children, mostly with facial injuries and that the number of cases per year continues to rise.

Association president Dr Sally Langley said victims suffered pain and severe physical and psychological trauma and many needed multiple operations and suffered permanent scarring.

As in the latest case, these attacks often happen in a family setting no doubt causing guilt, tension and further trauma.

In my view, some breeds are more dangerous than others because of the damage they are capable of inflicting.

However, any breed of dog is capable of becoming aggressive, depending on the circumstances.

This issue ultimately comes down to owner responsibility.

I support the call from the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons - the three-pronged approach they suggest could help prevent similar attacks happening in the future.

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