Police are investigating after a dog attacked two children in Ōpōtiki, almost severing one's ear.
Ōpōtiki police Sergeant Mike Mackenzie said the dog attack that took place in Ford St on Saturday about 7pm became a police matter after two youngsters were so badly injured they had to go to hospital.
The children injured were a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old.
"One of the kids had an ear almost severed," Mackenzie said.
'We are still speaking to witnesses – but it appears the dog jumped a fence and attacked."
Mackenzie said it was the obligation of dog owners to keep their dogs in their yards. The dog that attacked was considered a "dangerous" dog, according to the police officer.
"Pending the results of the investigation, it's possible the dog will be put down."
On Monday, Mackenzie said police and council officers were just about to go and pick up the offending dog.
Ōpōtiki woman Maude Maxwell, whose family was subjected to a dog attack in January 2013, said the community had a big role to play in sorting out Ōpōtiki's dog problem.
"Report all roaming dogs – you know where they live and who they belong to," she said.
"Roaming dogs are dogs that have no security where they live."
Maxwell suggested people should report all dogs that are attacking animals and people with as many facts and evidence as possible.
"Yes, you're policing now – but who cares," she said.
"If you're afraid to approach the owner, which I would suggest you don't do anyway, report it to animal control."
In many cases, events that were discussed on social media had not been reported to the Opotiki District Council.
"You might say that the council and animal control are nothing – well, neither are we if you don't report it," Maxwell said.
"Putting up notices on social media brings awareness, which is great, but this is not the reporting process – you still need to report these incidents."
Maxwell said the young man who had come to the aid of the children during the Saturday evening attack was "a hero".
Opotiki District Council planning and regulatory manager Gerard McCormack said the matter was under investigation.
"Given the injuries involved, the matter is with the police and they are the lead agency while we are supporting them," he said.
"Two unregistered dogs have been removed from the property, including the one that carried out the attack. They have been impounded while the investigation is under way."