A WOMAN called for dogs to be kept on leads after being attacked by a loose animal, which also savaged her pet.

Deborah Forster was relaxing with her dog Ted in Darlington’s Green Park on Saturday, July 19 when another dog - believed to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - attacked the tiny Yorkshire Terrier, leaving him seriously injured.

Ms Forster, 52, was also left with a severe bite to her arm after she tried to separate the struggling animals.

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She said: “We were sitting on the grass minding our own business when the dog came over and bit Ted and bit my arm.

“The owner managed to get it away but still didn’t put it on a lead, he just said sorry and off he went.

“I was so shocked I couldn’t get up and go after him and I had to look after my dog who was very badly injured – he should have stuck around to make sure we were okay.

“It’s been quite traumatic, I can handle it for myself but Ted has become really nervous and is still being treated by the vet.”

She added: “I just want to tell people to keep all dogs on a lead, especially in parks where there are children and other animals around.

“It’s supposed to be a nice thing to walk in the park with your dog and it’s just a matter of time before a dog like this kills another dog.”

In light of the incident, an RSPCA spokeswoman called on pet owners to control their animals.

She said: “This sounds like a very upsetting incident - not only can an animal victim be caused serious physical suffering as well as being terrified by the ordeal, but the owners of the animals are also often traumatised by the event.

"The RSPCA would like to reiterate once more the message that all dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their pets are cared for properly and are under control when out in public."

The matter was reported to the police. A spokesman from Durham Constabulary said the incident had been logged but as the dog owner’s details were not known and there is no CCTV coverage in the area, police action would be limited in scope.