The four dogs that attacked a 7-year-old Murupara girl leaving her fighting for her life had no previous reports of dangerous behaviour.

Sakurako Uehara was mauled on Monday by four Staffordshire bull terrier-cross dogs at a family friend's home.

The dogs were microchipped and registered and two of the dogs had been desexed, Whakatane District Council community regulation manager Graeme Lewer said.

The dogs attacked the girl on Monday afternoon leaving her with horrific injuries, mainly to her face. She was visiting the dogs' owners, who were family friends. She underwent surgery yesterday and was last night in a critical but stable condition in Middlemore Hospital.


The Murupara community has rallied around the family with the school she attended for a month - Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau - collecting donations and gifts to be sent to Middlemore Hospital. Murupara Volunteer Fire Brigade is also raising money, which would be deposited into the father's bank account.

"It's a loss all round," Mr Lewer said. "Two of these dogs were desexed, which is usually an indication the owners are responsible - it's not a cheap thing to get done.

"None of the dogs had come to our attention for any reason whatsoever and the owners had complied with everything that was required of them. They acted straight away in getting their dogs to the vets to be euthanised."

Three of the dogs were 3-years-old and the fourth was almost 7.

Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau principal Pem Bird told the Rotorua Daily Post the family had bought property in the town because they fell in love with what they saw.

"They bought a home here, they liked [Murupara] obviously," Mr Bird said.

"She settled in amazingly well that first minute. Language is no barrier, kids connect in other ways like play, singing, doing everything kids do.

"She was picking up Maori very quickly, it's pretty similar [to Japanese] in terms of pronunciation."


He said she had only been a student for one month but had made an impact on the school community. Mr Bird said they had expected her to re-enrol at the school for the 2015 year once the family had gained permanent residency.

"We get a lot of Japanese people coming through here to fish. Her parents were working, they were entrepreneurial," Mr Bird said.

The attack has come as a shock to the community.

Seven years ago Virginia Ohlson died after she was attacked by two dogs in the township. The dogs' owner was jailed for 18 months.

Murupara community board chairman Jacob Te Kurapa knew both families. "This is tragic," he said.

"I'm absolutely shocked. Murupara is a small town and everyone knows everyone. It's been pretty devastating.

"The community board is being supportive of the girl and her family and we're hoping she will come through with a speedy recovery.

"This is an isolated incident," Mr Te Kurapa said.