A vicious dog bit a chunk out of a mother's arm to the bone as she stepped in to save her two young children when a "huge dog" rushed at them while visiting friends at Atarau, northeast of Greymouth, on Wednesday.

The dog, a bull mastiff, was destroyed yesterday.

Blackball woman Jamie Davidson said today she was glad it was all over and that her children who were with her at the time had escaped with their lives.

The attack was totally unexpected, after she arrived with her two young children to visit a friend at Atarau.


The "huge" dog had normally been kept in a kennel run during previous visits to the property.

On Wednesday the dog happened to be inside the house and bounded outside just as Miss Davidson was walking in.

"The dog ran around me and went straight out and wanted to get my kids," she said today.

It was growling at the sound of her children just outside, with her three-year-old boy Nixon, particularly attracting the dog's attention.

"He (the dog) was jumping up to me, trying to get Nixon."

Miss Davidson said she naturally tried to shield the little boy from the dog but in the process it succeeded in biting her in the upper right arm. As she turned it jumped at her back, making several attempts to bite her again.

She suffered "quite a big gash"to her arm, but her first thought was protecting her children.

It was not until she began to bleed severely that she realised what had happened and that the bite had gone to the bone.

Miss Davidson said her friend and the dog's owner managed to pull it off her, which ultimately helped save her children, and she was ultimately grateful they had not been harmed.

"If he hadn't pulled it off me, that would have been the end of it ... the way I see it. The kids didn't get a scratch. My son probably would be here if the dog had got him."

Miss Davidson said she had grown up with dogs and was well used to them, but that had changed.

"I'll be a lot more wary. It's one of those things that happened and it shouldn't have happened."

Following initial St John first-aid Miss Davidson was airlifted to Grey Base Hospital. Back home today, she said the bite was being closely monitored for signs of infection.

Grey District Council dog control officer Paula Kerr said this morning their investigation had concluded, with the dog owner co-operating with them.

"The owner has voluntarily euthanised his dog," she said. "Council will now close the investigation ... we got a good outcome when the dog was euthanised."

- Greymouth Star