Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

First surgery for dog-maul girl

Sakurako Uehara.
Sakurako Uehara.

The 7-year-old mauled by dogs in Murupara has had a 10-hour operation to begin to repair the facial wounds she received during the attack.

It was the first reconstructive operation in what is expected to be a "very, very long recovery process" into Sakurako Uehara's adulthood.

Middlemore Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Young said the Japanese girl, who remains in a serious but stable condition, will undergo her next surgery on Monday.

Sakurako was attacked by four Staffordshire bull terrier-crosses while visiting a family friend's property with her parents on March 4. Doctors say she received more than 100 bites to her face, limbs, and almost "every part of her body" in the ferocious attack.

Her parents had received support from the hospital, Ms Young said, as well as thousands of dollars raised by the public for her recovery.

"The parents are enjoying lots of support from the hospital and the goodwill of the people of New Zealand, who have sent their best wishes. We're providing them [with] accommodation and New Zealanders have donated at least $165,000 to Sakurako and her family."

Middlemore had also provided a room for the parents to rest at the hospital.

"Plus they've got our social workers with them for psychological support. And we've provided a translator for them."

Naoe Hashimoto of the Auckland Japanese Society, who assisted the family immediately after the incident, said the family could contact her at any time for extra help. The parents had been offered a day away from the hospital to see Auckland "for a change", but had preferred to remain at their daughter's bedside.

- NZ Herald

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