A 3-year-old boy has been viciously bitten by a dog while trying to cuddle it during a family outing.

The child, identified as Sabbath Dietrich, his parents and sister went to a beach in New Zealand on Saturday, along with some friends. They decided to take their three pet dogs with them.

There were a few kids and two more dogs at the beach. Only a few minutes into their escapade, the boy tried to hug one of the dogs at the beach, a rescue Shar Pei, but the dog attacked the boy in response.

"All the dogs were running around and playing and stuff. Sabby went up and just gave the dog a nice cuddle," Aimee Lockley, the child's mother, recalled, The Taranaki Daily News reported.

Lockley and Dan Dietrich, the boy's father, immediately ran and saved the boy by kicking the canine. According to Dietrich, he saw how the canine latched on his son from the corner of his eye before responding running toward him.

Emergency personnel airlifted the boy to Waikato Hospital, where he was put under general anesthetic in the emergency department and released soon after.

The family now plans to file a complaint. They feel the boy should have been taken to the plastics ward instead of the ED as his face was badly damaged in the attack.

The family said the boy "didn't cry at all" throughout the ordeal.

"I think he was just in shock. I don't think he actually realized what happened. I'm saddened by the thought he's going to be left with such a massive facial scar," his father said.

Meanwhile, the canine was taken into custody by New Plymouth District Council following the incident and will be put down, reported 9News.

In a similar incident last month, a 3-year-old girl was attacked by a dog in Texas. Ronin and her parents were at a restaurant when she was mauled by a pit bull. The dog's owner pulled on its leash following which the canine "dropped the girl like a rag doll."

The victim was taken to a local hospital where she received close to 20 stitches and was recovering. The dog's owner fled the scene with the canine.

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