A dog attack near a park northwest of Tokyo on Wednesday resulted in 12 people being bitten, including nine elementary school pupils, with five taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, local authorities said.

Police received an emergency call around 4:10 p.m. from a man who witnessed the dog attack near Seibu Chuo park in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture. The individuals hurt in the attack are aged between 7 and 63, the police said.

Photo taken Feb. 7, 2024, shows Seibu Chuo park in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, where a dog attack occurred. (Kyodo)

The police have questioned the dog's owner, a 62-year-old man who lives in Isesaki. Further investigation is underway amid suspicion that the owner may bear responsibility for the injuries due to negligence.

The dog, a 2-year-old Shikoku breed, was captured and is approximately 130 centimeters long and 60 cm tall, according to local police. They reported that it was not wearing a collar at the time of the attack.

A girl who was at the park at the time said, "The dog looked angry. I was scared and frantically ran away."

A 13-year-old female junior high school student living nearby witnessed a large dog attacking a smaller dog with a man at around 4:30 p.m. She said, "The man kicked the dog to drive it away. It was scary."

No cases of rabies infections within Japan have been reported since the 1950s.

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