THE owners of the UK's oldest dog have been left heartbroken after he was savaged to death on his morning walk in Hartlepool.

Yorkshire terrier Jack hit the headlines last year when he reached the incredible age of 25 - a staggering 117 in dog years.

He had been about to enjoy a walk on Monday morning with owner Ray Bunn, 70, along the marina in his home town of Hartlepool when he was attacked.

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The Northern Echo: DEVASTATED: Jack, the oldest dog in the country, has been killed whilst about to enjoy a walk. Pictured with owner Ray Bunn Picture: NORTH NEWS

DEVASTATED: Jack, the oldest dog in the country, has been killed whilst about to enjoy a walk. Pictured with owner Ray Bunn Picture: NORTH NEWS

Mr Bunn says that he was getting Jack out of his car with a friend, and it was while they were putting his lead on that a black Lakeland terrier raced over and started to attack him.

Retired factory worker Mr Bunn said: "I am still in shock. We expected Jack to die quietly in his sleep, not in this horrible, violent way.

"The dog just came out of nowhere and grabbed Jack on his side. He wasn't on a lead.

"I was desperate to get the dog off Jack. I punched it, but it was about three minutes before it let go.

"Jack was bleeding heavily but still breathing. Someone had a blanket and we wrapped him up and put him in the back of the car."

Mr Bunn, who is married to Mary, 66, drove straight to the vets, but sadly Jack died of his injuries before they arrived.

He says he exchanged details with the owner of the Lakeland terrier, and has reported the incident to the police.

Mr Bunn said: "Mary and I are devastated. Jack was a part of our family, and we just can't believe he has gone."

He added: "He was the oldest dog in the country, and for him to die in this way, as opposed to peacefully in his sleep, is a tragedy."

Mrs Bunn said that the couple would not be getting another dog because Jack is 'irreplaceable'.

Cleveland Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident to establish whether or not any offences have been committed.