LITTLE Connor Reimer was just being friendly as he reached out to pat a stray dog.
The four-year-old could not have known that the black and white border collie would launch a savage attack.
The joy of a family barbecue at a Tweed park last Saturday turned to horror for Connor's parents Jim and Patrizia Reimer as they watched the dog maul their son.
Mr Reimer said the dog was running around the park at Kennedy Drive without an owner or registration tags.
“My son walked over and started to pat the dog ... and it just jumped up and began to attack him,” he said.
“It was on top of him, locked on to his face and head - that's what dogs do to kill.
“He was bleeding from all wounds.
“There was blood all over the place.”
The boy suffered a deep cut to his forehead and other injuries to his left eye.
He was taken to The Tweed Hospital by ambulance after his parents pulled the dog away.
“He was very close to needing stitches,” Mr Reimer said.
“The owner wasn't even there. The dog was just running wild in a public place.”
Mrs Reimer said her son had since been wary around dogs and that she made him pat the family dog after the incident so he wouldn't be frightened.
The Reimers, who live in Mullumbimby, said they wanted to get in touch with the dog's owner and were calling for the animal to be destroyed.
But Mrs Reimer said she was told by a council ranger the dog had been given back to its owner, who had not even been fined.
“They gave the dog back and didn't tell us,” she said. “What if we had gone back to the park the next day and it had been there again? Can you imagine how traumatic that would have been?”
However, Tweed Shire Council's regulatory services co-ordinator, Paul Brouwer, said the dog was at the pound yesterday and would be destroyed.
When informed late yesterday that the dog was to be destroyed, the Reimers were relieved.
“I'm very happy that the dog will be put down so that park will now be safe for children to play in,” Mrs Reimer said.
“I don't want to have to worry about some other kid being mauled.
“But I regret that it took a knee-jerk reaction to bad publicity for the council to actually do something.”
Mr Brouwer said police removed the dog from the scene of the attack because its owner was not present.
“In general terms, council rangers would not remove the dog to be impounded from the scene of the alleged attack if the owner could contain the dog.
“This would obviously not be the case in regards to severe dog attacks,” Mr Brouwer said.
“This procedure is in line with the NSW Companion Animals Act.
“Council rangers then interview those involved in the incident and issue an infringement notice.”
Mr Reimer said after the attack he and his wife tied the animal to a tree and waited for police to arrive.
“We spoke to a couple of people that saw what happened and they said that dog has been running around the park on its own on and off for about a year,” he said.
“They said the owner has received two citations already.”