Father of mauled toddler pleads for caution

ATTACK: A Maremma dog.
ATTACK: A Maremma dog.

A FATHER whose son was mauled by a dog has warned that even the most familiar pets can be dangerous around children.

Two-year-old Mason Hopley suffered two gashes to his left cheek, cuts over his left eye and around both ears, and puncture wounds on his right cheek after he was attacked by a dog at his grandparents’ Medowie property on Thursday.

His father Jamie Hopley yesterday described the attack as ‘‘out of character’’ for the animal.

‘‘It was a big shock,’’ Mr Hopley said.

Mason was recovering well yesterday following a five-hour microsurgery operation on Thursday afternoon, he said.

‘‘To see your kid with 300 stitches in his head is a bit of a shock,’’ he said.

‘‘You can see where the dog’s bitten him, and where it’s tried to shake him.’’

Mason’s grandfather Glenn Birch said that early on Thursday Bundy, one of his two Maremma sheep dogs, uncharacteristically attacked the toddler.

‘‘I’ve come around the corner and the dog was into him – I was just running to him,’’ he said.

Mr Birch surrendered Bundy and another dog to Port Stephens rangers after the attack.

Bundy was due to be euthanised.

‘‘I love my dogs, but I love my grandson more,’’ Mr Birch said.

‘‘[Mason] will have scars, but it could have been a lot worse.’’