Family dog ripped 2-year-old's face till teeth were exposed in brutal attack as helpless grandparents watched
Staffie Bull Terrier Zeus, who attacked Maxim Bennett as he was holding a sausage, has been taken by Animal Control officials for investigation
A Staffie brutally mauled a two-year-old boy, ripping his face so badly that his teeth were left exposed. On March 14, Maxin Bennett, of Christchurch, New Zealand was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Zeus in a family member's driveway. The toddler, who will need ongoing surgery following the attack, was holding a sausage and riding a bike as his grandparents watched on. The dog reportedly attacked Maxin without provocation. Maxin had traveled with his mother Alana Trainor, 29, from Christchurch to Hastings to attend the 50th birthday of her uncle Peter Trainor. It was Peter's dog that attacked Maxin.
“My mum came screaming up to me that the dog had attacked my son," Alana told the New Zealand Herald. “By the time I got out there my dad had him in his arms. The left side of his face had been ripped right back and you could see all of his teeth.”
Maxin, who was initially rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital, was later airlifted for surgery to Christchurch Hospital. Staff at the hospital reportedly told Alana that Maxine's wounds were some of the most severe dog bites they had seen. The mother explained her son could now be bullied due to his scar, which Maxin has reportedly dubbed his "ouchie". The toddler is now required to undergo a series of compounded surgeries as he grows up.
“He used to love dogs but now since he has noticed his scar he has been shying away from strange dogs often grabbing my leg and when my dogs get near him he now slaps their nose and says 'ouchie' which is what he calls his scar," Alana continued.
Furthermore, the attack has reportedly caused tensions within the family after Zeus' owner is said to be refusing to accept responsibility for the incident. In fact, Alana has now launched a petition to have the dog removed from the property for safety reasons and she has also filed a complaint with the Hastings District Council. “I just want some justice for my wee boy. I don't want this to happen to anyone else," she told the Herald. “If it does it could be worse. Maxin was lucky to escape with the injuries he received. It could have been a lot worse."
"Peter rang me the day of Maxin's surgery. He was crying and told me he put the dog down," she continued. “Peter has never (since) contacted me to make sure Maxin's ok. Instead, they've been telling family members the dog did attack Maxin but it was only a small bite. It hurts me as a mother to see my wee boy like this.”
According to Hastings District Council’s regulatory solutions manager John Payne, they heard about the attack only on May 23, and that the complainant understood the dog would be euthanized by its owner. However, that did not happen and the owner is now claiming the attacking dog was a stray.
“The dogs were seized on June 10 to allow Hastings District Council Animal Control the opportunity to further investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack and to prevent further possible harm," Payne said. “The owner of those two dogs was interviewed and based on his statement Council had no authority to hold them, hence they were released June 11 pending the finalization of the investigation."
“The investigation is still ongoing," he continued. "We understand there are further witnesses and we are awaiting contact details in order to interview them. We will then make a decision on a possible prosecution. One of the key considerations will be whether there is enough evidence to get a conviction."
Nonetheless, the dogs have been released on strict conditions and are subject to unannounced inspections by the council, Payne added.