A horse has been badly mauled by a dog on a beach in the Bay of Plenty, with a vet apparently having to spend at least an hour stitching the horse's face back together.

That is according to the horse's owner, who posted a graphic photo of the animal's injuries on social media on Tuesday.

The post has been shared more than 900 times and has received hundreds of comments.

The incident is said to have taken place at Tuapiro Point near Katikati.

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A police media spokesman told the Bay of Plenty Times this morning that a report was received around 12.25pm on Tuesday that a dog had attacked a rider's horse before leaving with its owner.

The location of the incident was listed as Tuapiro Rd.

The police media spokesman said animal control and local police were advised.

The horse's owner said in her social media post that her horse was attacked by a dog which was "totally out of control in full attack mode" for about 10 minutes.

She said a lot of people saw the attack and were horrified and that the dog's owner was present and was yelling at it.

"The vet has spent an hour or more stitching my horse's face back together. If this has been a child on a small pony they would have had no chance."

The Western Bay of Plenty District Council confirmed that it had received a complaint on Tuesday shortly after 1pm of a serious attack on a horse at Tuapiro Point.

The council's compliance and monitoring manager, Alison Curtis, said council officers had been in contact with the horse's owner and were seeking information from anyone who may have witnessed the attack and can provide details of the dog or owner of the dog.

"Information provided by the horse owner indicates that the owner of the dog left the scene of the attack with the dog in a vehicle," Curtis said.

"Council officers are keen to find the owner of the dog and are talking to anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the attack."

Attempts to contact the owner of the horse on Wednesday were not successful.