A three-year-old boy remains in hospital with serious injuries after being attacked by a dog in Mayfield on Tuesday evening.
The attack occurred about 6.30pm near the entrance to the cul-de-sac of Antill Street, after a great dane ran from a property through an open gate while the owner was moving a motorcycle.
The boy, named as Tom Higgins, was riding his pushbike, accompanied by his mother and older sister.
Emergency services responded to the incident and paramedics treated the boy at the scene before taking him to John Hunter Hospital.
Police said the boy underwent surgery for “non-life-threatening” injuries suffered to his face, neck and upper back. A hospital spokesperson later said he was in a “stable” condition.
Neighbours said the attack was “surprising” and the dog – known as Rossco – was usually secured in the owner’s yard.
Aleen Payne, 65, was standing in the front yard of her son’s Antill Street house when the attack occurred.
“There was a kid screaming, just screaming,” said Ms Payne. “And then I heard a man going off [at the dog].”
Another Antill Street resident who assisted the family after the attack told the Newcastle Herald how the great dane’s owner was moving a motorcycle from one part of his property to another – through the open gate – when the dog apparently ran out.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, also said the boy’s mother had been collecting cans and bottles at the time of the attack to recycle through the return and earn scheme.
Detective Acting Inspector Jeffrey Little said that “the dog did in fact walk through an open gate” and there was “no suggestion” the dog was provoked. The dog’s owner had cooperated with authorities and a Newcastle City Council investigation would determine what happened to the pet.
“There is an investigation underfoot and we are assisting council with those inquires,” Detective Acting Inspector Little said.
“There is every chance that dog will be destroyed.”
The attack follows an incident in Inverell on Saturday where a one-year-old girl died after a dog attack.
“Dogs are, by their very nature, instinctive,” Detective Acting Inspector Little said.
“Regrettably, sometimes for whatever reason they can attack, so they are potentially dangerous.
“It’s a timely warning for all dog owners to take the necessary precautions to ensure they can divert such tragic instances from taking place.
“I’d say everybody’s lucky in this circumstance because it hasn’t ended up worse.
“This is traumatic for the family and probably the dog owner as well.”