Girl, 7, mauled by four dogs

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Wellington - New Zealand police said on Wednesday that they were investigating whether to lay criminal charges after a seven-year-old Japanese girl was attacked by four dogs and left critically injured.

The girl was attacked by four Staffordshire bull terrier-cross dogs in a North Island town on Monday while her family was visiting friends who owned the animals, police said.

Hospital officials said the girl was in critical but stable condition.

Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said investigators might not decide until next week whether to charge the dogs' owners or anyone else.

The dogs have been put down.

Fairfax Media reported that the girl, Sakurako Uehara, was enrolled at a Maori-language immersion school in the town of Murupara for a month.

The family was planning to return to Japan to sort out residency requirements for a longer stay in New Zealand. - Sapa-AP

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