A TERRIFIED mum feared she was going to die after being viciously attacked by a dog in a woodland.

Penny Herring has now been left “mentally scarred” after the attack, which saw a 50kg Staffie cross bullmastiff knock her onto the ground before tearing into her side during her first ever visit to Hockley Woods.

In an attempt to stop the hound killing her beloved three-year-old Jack Russell, Ollie, Penny held her precious pooch above her head to keep him out of harm’s way.

She was taken to Basildon Hospital, where she spent six hours in A&E.

The 39-year-old, from Orsett, said: “We had arranged to meet our friends from Braintree for a dog walk so parked at The Bull car park so we could go there for something to eat when we finished.

“We were on our way back at about 2.45pm when we heard a man calling his dog, whose name was Ernie.

“We couldn’t see anything coming but I quickly clipped the lead to Ollie’s harness in case; he was still on the floor when the dog appeared. He went for Ollie and Ollie went back, so I picked him up to keep them apart.

“I turned away from the dog to protect Ollie and it started to jump at my back, so I held him above my head. I couldn’t leave him to be attacked.

“It jumped on me and knocked me straight to the floor before biting into my right hand side, my husband had Ollie at the time. I thought I was going to die in those woods.”

Mrs Herring said the attack, which happened Sunday, felt like it would never end.

She added: “My 14-year-old daughter was there with us and I worry if she had been holding him we would have had a very damaged daughter and a very dead dog.

“The bloke had managed to get hold of Ernie and left. I thought it had taken a whole lump out of my side and that I was going to faint on some man’s driveway. I’ve never been so scared in all my life.

“The hospital was shocked at how deep the top two wounds were and said that I was very lucky that it had just sunk it’s teeth into the fatty tissue.”

“I had Tetanus and IV antibiotics and will have to visit minor injuries every day to re-do the dressing. I’m also off work."

The dog was white and sandy in colour, and the owner was wearing a yellow t shirt. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 101.