WELLINGTON (AFP) - A seven-year-old Japanese girl was critically injured in New Zealand when a pack of four large dogs mauled her in a "horrific" attack on a rural property, officials said on Tuesday.
The girl was playing in a yard at Murupara in the North Island on Monday afternoon when four "mastiff-type" dogs belonging to the property's owner attacked her, the police said.
She was airlifted to hospital suffering "extensive injuries to the majority of her face" and puncture wounds to her arms, legs and hips, the BayTrust Rescue Helicopter said.
She underwent surgery on Tuesday and remained in a critical condition.
Police said the dogs were put down and they were considering laying charges.
Local Government Minister Paula Bennett said the authorities would look at tightening dog control laws in the wake of the attack.
"It's horrific for that wee girl and her family and for the whole community," she told reporters.
"I'm keen to have another look. I mean anything we can do to stop horrific attacks like this, but it's an incredibly complex area. It's not as simple as banning a breed."
Murupara Community Board chairman Jacob Te Kurapa said the girl and her parents had only recently settled in the area from Japan.
"The family have only been here for six weeks in Murupara," he told Radio New Zealand. "They were looking forward, and I'm sure they still will, to a new life here in New Zealand."