Witnesses to the horrific attack said the French Mastiff jumped over a fence in a nearby garden before rushing towards the toddler, newspaper Fædrelandsvennen reports.
As the dog tried to haul the child away, a young woman – reported to be a family member – jumped on top of the boy to protect him.
“The child has a deep open wound on his back, while the woman has a deep open wound on her arm,” police spokeswoman Ingrid Mæhre told the newspaper after the attack.
The woman’s brother, a 17-year-old named as Ferdi Fezullah, said he ran over to intervene after hearing his sister’s frantic cries.
Just then, two more dogs – both reported to be a cross between a Doberman and a Rottweiler – escaped from the same garden. One of the new arrivals bit the teenager on the back, arm and knee.
“The man was treated at the emergency ward in Mandal, while the two others were admitted to Sørlandet Hospital with nasty bite wounds,” Mæhre told news agency NTB.
The trio’s bloody ordeal ended when the owner of the dogs, a 23-year-old man, arrived at the scene and managed to pull the two most aggressive animals away. He was later arrested and charged with failing to control his animals. Police said he would be held for questioning on Thursday.
Ferdi Fezullah and his sister were in Mandal visiting family and do not speak Norwegian, Fædrelandsvennen said. After the attack, a neighbour called for medical help on their behalf.
The woman needed stitches in one of her arms and was kept at the hospital overnight. Family members were able to take the two-year-old boy home later in the evening. Ferdi Fezullah was also discharged on Wednesday evening.
The dogs were confiscated and will likely be put down, police said.