The men who rescued a Northland girl being attacked by a dog had to prise the animal's jaws apart to free her, the child's grandmother says.

Last Thursday a boy aged 15 and a girl aged 11 were bitten on the legs, arms and lower body by a large dog while they were walking to school on Otiria Rd in Moerewa.

The girl was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital and has yet to go back to school while the boy was treated at Moerewa Medical Services.

A smaller dog was present during both attacks, about 20 minutes apart, but only bit the boy.


Noema Paul, principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Taumarere in Moerewa, said the 11-year-old was her granddaughter and one of her pupils.

Her moko had never had a dog problem before while walking to school.

''What alarmed her was that the dog came straight at her ... I'm really thankful to the painters who heard her screams and ran over. They had to prise the dog's mouth open to get it off her.''

Paul said her moko hugged a fence to protect her front but was bitten on her legs, buttocks and under her arm. She spent four hours in hospital getting patched up and was also given a tetanus shot.

There was some concern the bites could became infected so she was due to see doctor again yesterday.

Paul said her granddaughter, an animal lover with dogs at home, was tough but ''a bit traumatised'' by the ordeal.

Given that the attack was not a one-off the dog should be put down, she said.

The Far North District Council also needed be more aware of the number of dogs roaming on Otiria Rd, especially given the extra numbers of children walking to school in the area.


As well as the kids going to Moerewa Primary School, half the roll of her kura had relocated to Lucas Rd, off Otiria Rd, while it was being refurbished.

Paul said parents had been informed of the attacks and the kura was considering setting up a ''walking bus'' with children walking together and accompanied by adults for safety.

Meanwhile, the owner of the dogs blamed for the attacks says she's convinced it wasn't her pets — but surrendered her dogs anyway because she was herself the victim of a dog attack as a child.

Te Awhina Palmer said she surrendered her dogs to animal control officers about 10.30am on Thursday after they were accused of the attack.

However, she didn't believe they were responsible because when she got home her larger dog, a 15-month-old brown and white Neapolitan-pitbull cross, was chained up in her backyard.

The dog never left her property unless it was with her or her partner, she said.

She conceded, however, that her puppy, a seven-month-old white dog of the same breed, could have got out and teamed up with another dog from the area.

She said she had surrendered the dogs because animal control officers kept telling her they were responsible for the attacks and because she felt for the victims.

''I just felt so sorry for them, I remember how I felt when I was bitten when I was 7.''

Palmer said that bite, by a roaming dog in Moerewa, went down to the bone.

She was also gutted, however, for her dogs.

''They're like my sons,'' she said.

The council is understood to be holding the dogs at its southern pound near Horeke but won't comment while its investigation into the two attacks is under way.

Council animal management officers are understood to have spoken to a number of witnesses to the attack.

The latest dog attacks come after a series of serious maulings over recent months in Kaikohe and Dargaville.