The owner of four dogs that attacked a boy in Gisborne yesterday says he is "shattered" by what happened.

The man, who considers himself a grandfather to the injured 5-year-old, Calais, said he was going to hospital to visit the youngster for the first time later today.

"We're pretty shattered, but he's all right," the man said.

"It'll be hard to see him like that."


The dogs attacked the boy shortly after he had arrived at the property about 1pm yesterday, police said.

It is understood they were American staffordshire bull terrier crosses.

Police said the man was to be charged over drug offences.

Calais was the son of the man's partner's nephew, but the man said he called himself the boy's grandfather.

It had been a rough week for the man's family, with his late father's birthday falling today too.

He had not yet spoken to Calais' mother, but said his partner had told him she understood what had happened was just an accident.

"His mum's being real good about it."

Police were charging the man with owning a dog that causes injury, and at least three of the four dogs had been ordered to be put down.


The man alleged a fourth, older, dog had not been involved in the attack and should not be put down.

The Herald was today unable to reach Gisborne District Council for an update on the status of the dogs.

Calais suffered multiple bite wounds and was taken to Gisborne Hospital in a serious condition. Family members accompanied him in an ambulance to hospital where he underwent surgery yesterday.

Gisborne Hospital would not give further updates on his condition today, saying the boy's family had asked them not to.