A young boy who was attacked by an unleashed dog has received stitches to his face and mouth.
Hunter Baldwin, 7, went to Stillwater Beach near Whangaparaoa to go fishing with his family yesterday afternoon.
After arriving at the beach, Baldwin and his two siblings asked their mother if they could pat a dog.
The mother, Angela Rowley, told her children to avoid the dog, but she said the dog's owner insisted it was friendly and encouraged the children to pat it.
"The owner of the dog said, 'She is fine, she loves kids, she has grown up with children all her life', so they went and patted her," Rowley said.
Looking away for one moment, she heard the dog growl and then a child scream.
"I turned around after hearing a growl to see my son holding his face screaming."
She said she did not know the breed of the dog but described it as being brindle in colour.
The owner of the dog quickly left the scene after the attack without giving any contact details, Rowley said.
She and her son both gave statements to animal control officers who came the beach to investigate.
"They will keep an eye out and will do some door knocking up a street the owner said he lived on to a local," Rowley said.
Baldwin was later taken to Starship children's hospital before being transferred to the plastic surgery department at Middlemore Hospital to receive stitches and to mend his lip.
The six stitches he received on his cheek had affected his self-confidence, his mother told the Herald.
"He doesn't want anyone seeing him like this, we have been told the scar on his cheek could take up to six months to come right," Rowley said.
Auckland Council's manager of animal management Nikki Marchant-Ludlow said staff were investigating the attack.
"We are currently working with the parents and undertaking an investigation to find the dog and its owner.
"Our thoughts are with the victim and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery," she said.
In 2016 the Government announced plans to crack down on dogs that were deemed high-risk and dangerous.
If dogs are deemed dangerous by Auckland Council, owners are required to enforce these rules on their dog within one month.
Owners must keep dangerous dogs in a fenced area of the property, have them neutered, muzzled when in public and on a leash in public at all times.
Marchant-Ludlow said Baldwin was attacked by an "off-leash pit-bull type dog".
She added that the investigation was ongoing.
Rowley wants the public to be aware of their little ones around dogs they do not know to help prevent this type of incident from recurring.