A police officer has shot and killed a dog after three dogs were set on him in Kaingaroa Forest township tonight.

The shooting happened after a man known to police was stopped after reports of a suspicious vehicle in the area.

Senior Sergeant Mal Collins, Bay of Plenty District Command Centre, said following a "short fleeing driver incident" an officer attempted to arrest a man in the Kaingaroa Forest township, near Murupara at 7.56pm.

He said during the arrest attempt, the man released three of five dogs in the direction of the officer and the officer was attacked.

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The officer was bitten several times by one dog.

For his safety, the officer shot the dog and it died.

While the officer was being attacked, two of the five dogs remained in the man's car.

Two of the three dogs which had been released then followed the man, who left the scene on foot, Mr Collins said.

An ambulance was sent to the scene and the officer has been treated for his wounds.

More police staff arrived at the scene and animal control was called.

The offender, who is known to police, is currently being sought by officers.

The man was originally stopped by police following up on reports of a suspicious vehicle in the vicinity.

"When the man failed to comply with the constable, the dogs were set on the officer from the man's vehicle.

"He was placed in a dangerous situation when threatened with the animals," said Mr Collins.

"The officer used his training and tactical options to ensure his own safety and that of the community was preserved."

Police earlier advised four dogs had been set on the officer, but have since clarified how many were involved.