Police in New Plymouth have shot dead a pitbull terrier after it attacked its owner in the city.
Acting Taranaki Area Commander Detective Inspector Keith Borrell said a neighbour alerted police to a woman being attacked on her Moturoa property by one of her three dogs about 9.30am.
Officers arrived at the scene to find the woman, in her early 40s, was still being attacked and with substantial bite wounds to her arms, legs and face.
One of the officers shot the dog with single shot, instantly killing it - an action which save the woman being injured further, Mr Borrell said.
The woman could "most definitely" have been killed if the dog had not been shot, he said.
The woman is in a serious condition in Taranaki Base Hospital.
The two remaining dogs on the property were taken away by an animal control officer as a precaution.
Police had started an inquiry into the incident - standard practice when a police firearm was used.