A TERRIFIED dog owner watched in horror as her puppy was grabbed by the muzzle and attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Yvonne Terry, 59, tried desperately to unlock the jaws of the ferocious pet, but injured her thumb in the process.

Her golden retriever Archie was set upon by the animal while on a regular morning walk in Blenheim Park, Leigh.

Mrs Terry described how she tried to push the two dogs to the ground, in a bid to get the Staffie to release its grip and prevent it shaking Archie.

She said: “I was hysterical and screaming ‘get him off’.

“The owner was just holding his lead and said, ‘I can’t, he will get off when he is ready’.

“It had its jaws around his muzzle and I thought he had caught Archie’s eye, but his teeth missed it by half an inch.

“It was the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed.

“After Archie didn’t get up and was breathing funnily, I laid on the ground with him to protect him.”

Eight-month-old Archie needed veterinary treatment to the cuts around his eye on Wednesday. But Mrs Terry, of Stonehill Road, Leigh, is more concerned the dog will attack again.

She said: “The man, who has two Staffies, is well known in the park for his vicious dogs and people know to avoid them.

“He can’t control them, and there have been other dogs injured worse than Archie.

“This time he had a young child with him.

”I reported what happened to police, but they said unless it’s attacked a human they don’t get involved.

“How is it right he can walk around knowing it’s vicious and not have to muzzle it? We get fined for not picking up dog mess, but to have an animal attack another dog is OK.

“What if it’s a child next time?”

Val Howells, Southend’s dog warden, said unless owners could be identified then it was difficult for police to take action.

She said: “Police have now accepted the remit for dog on dog attacks. I only get informed about them.

“But their hands are tied unless we can identify the owner.

“It is very distressing for owners to witness, but everyone has a responsibility to keep their dog under control.”

A police spokeswoman said for the police to take up the matter, a dog had to be dangerously out of control, and a prosecution may be brought for a person failing to control an animal dangerously out of control.