"They want to paint me as a bad father", says man whose dog attacked son

7:31 pm on 20 July 2016

An Auckland man whose dog viciously mauled his son's face says he is being unfairly painted as a bad father.

Orlando Shepherd applied to withdraw his original guilty plea in the Manukau District Court this afternoon.

Shepherd Mea, 6, was attacked by the bull mastiff in August 2013, when he was 4 years old at their Otahuhu home. The attack left him with serious head injuries.

He is still recovering from those injuries, and had surgery last week.

Mr Shepherd was charged with owning a dog causing serious injury under section 58 of the Dog Control Act 1996, and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Speaking outside court today, Mr Shepherd said he had sacked his lawyer for the third time.

He now intended to fight the charge as long as he needed to, even if it meant going to the High Court.

He said he had not been given a chance to explain what had happened, and did not believe he deserved to go to jail.

"This system is a mess. They want to paint me as a bad father."

Mr Shepherd said his son was playing with the dog in their backyard, and was hanging on its tail when it attacked.

"He's just a kid, he doesn't understand dogs, but they want to say it's my fault."

He said he was grateful for his son's recovery.

The Auckland Council investigated the attack at the time and laid the charge. The dog was destroyed just over a week after the attack.

Housing New Zealand also investigated and told RNZ News that Mr Shepherd and his family had been at the state home for a short time and were not permitted to have a dog.

Mr Shepherd said his life had been frantic since then.

"I lost my house too, me and my son have been moving around."

Mr Shepherd will next appear in court on 13 October.