A TODDLER watched in horror as a rottweiler mauled his gran’s beloved dog to death.
Jean Cribb, 52, was enjoying a morning stroll with husband Barry, two-year-old grandson Harrison and their 12-year-old Jack Russell cross-Chihuahua, Cherry.
Suddenly, the rottweiler raced out and sank its teeth into Cherry’s back and stomach.
A tearful Mrs Cribb recalled the terrible event, which unfolded in Buckingham Road, Hockley, near her home.
She told how a neighbour warned the family moments before the attack a rottweiler had escaped from a back garden.
Mrs Cribb said : “It was so terrifying and happened so quickly.
“The dog came out of nowhere and thundered towards us, lunged at Cherry and tore her skin off.
“We managed to pull the dog off, but he went for her again and tore her belly. She ran to hide in a bush.”
Mrs Cribb rushed Cherry to Medivet, Hockley, but despite £1,600 of emergency surgery she had to make the heartbreaking decision to have Cherry put down because her injuries were so severe.
In hindsight, the family feel the tragedy could have been even worse. Mrs Cribb said: “The dog could have attacked my grandson, but thankfully my husband picked him up in time. He was in my husband’s arms during the attack and saw everything.
“Harrison is still in shock, but I am just so thankful he was not hurt.
“I dread to think what would have happened if that dog attacked a child. It was very upsetting. We are all in shock, devastated.”
The family now want tougher sentences for irresponsible owners whose dogs attack.
She added: “I think any dog should be muzzled in public to be on the safe side. There should be higher fines and tougher punishments for owners, because they are responsible for their pets.”
Insp Chris Higgins said police were desperately trying to trace the rottweiler’s owners. He said: “In the meantime, we are trying to get as many statements as we can. We will then present the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, to see if they will take it to court.”
The attack happened at 10am on Saturday.