'Ban dangerous dog breeds' - pitbull attack on boy prompts call for action

The latest dog attack has prompted a top surgeon to call for dog owners to be better educated on how to handle their animals and for certain breeds to be banned.

There are renewed calls for dog owners to be better educated on how to handle their dogs. Source: Breakfast

Dr Sally Langley, President of the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons, told TVNZ's Breakfast today that "hardly a call day goes by without me seeing more dog injuries come through".

"We have several a week go through our public hospitals, but that's just the tip of the iceberg," she said.

The latest attack came on Saturday when a seven-year-old boy suffered a significant facial wound after being bitten by a pitbull in Takanini, Auckland.

He is in a stable condition in hospital having undergone extensive surgery.

Dr Langley says many other dog bite injuries come through GPs and emergency departments.

"We need our families and children educated on how to behave around dogs. That's of extreme importance," she says.

According to Dr Langley a lot of the more dangerous dogs in New Zealand aren't registered, which is a "difficult problem".

"We'd like to see certain dog breeds banned. The most dangerous dog breeds seem to be the pitbull crosses and Rottweilers and it would be very good to have them banned," she says.

Dr Langley says the dog attack injuries she sees are "devastating" and include "extensive deep puncture wounds, lacerations and tissue loss around the face, head and limbs.

"Even a one to two centimetre cut or puncture wound on the face of a child is devastating. But of course the major ones are horrendous."

Dr Langley says a nationwide study presented last year documents an increase in dog attacks over a 10 year period.

Prime Minister John Key told Breakfast "there are too many bites. I don't have a simple answer".

Mr Key says Parliament has looked a the issue on "numerous occasions".