A moment later, seven-year-old Hunter Baldwin's cheek had been ripped open and the side of his mouth torn, said his father Damion Baldwin.
The family had been fishing at Stillwater Beach, north Auckland, when Hunter asked his parents if he could pet the brindle colored Pit Bull mix.
"We told him not to, but the owner was talking over us — insisting that the dog 'was fine', that she loves children and had grown up around kids," said Baldwin.
Looking away for one moment, she heard the dog growl and then a child scream.
"I turned around after hearing a growl to see my son holding his face screaming."
He said the dog's owner "kind of just [ran off]" without apology or handing over his contact details. Baldwin said he felt the owner should come forward and face up to his dog's actions.
"He's embarrassed to be seen now, with huge scars on his face and mouth," said Baldwin.
"He's pretty shaken up and we don't know how he'll be around dogs now — which is really sad, as he's such an animal lover ... Hopefully he'll just be a bit more wary."
Animal Control were called to the beach after the attack, and took statements from Hunter and his parents.
Baldwin said he and Hunter's mother hoped their story would make other parents more cautious with their children around dogs.
(Stuff NZ - January 8 2018)