A DOG owner has spoken of her shock after her beloved pet was grabbed by the throat and shaken like a 'ragdoll' by Pit Bull-type dog when she was walking through a park.

Jade Robson-Cross was left screaming for help as she tried to get the dog release her Border Collie – Cooper – from its vice-like jaws.

The mother-of-one was in the Dene's area of Darlington at about 7.30pm on Wednesday when the large dog appeared out of nowhere.

"It was pitch-black and I didn't see where the dog came from, but it just grabbed hold of Cooper and starting shaking him about," she said. "I tried hitting the dog but it refused to let go and it was so powerful that it dragged Cooper's lead out of my hand and dragged him away.

The Northern Echo:

Copper's injured neck

"The dog was a white 'Pit Bull-type, it was powerfully built and it was shaking Cooper around like a ragdoll – I was terrified.

"I couldn't do anything to stop the attack and I just started to scream for help. Luckily three young lads heard me and came running across to see what was happening to me. When we found Cooper, the other dog was laid on top of him and I thought he was dead.

"The lads eventually managed to get it to let go of Cooper and two of them protected him while one held the other dog out of the way.

"It seemed to like an age before anyone came over to get hold of the dog and when he did arrive he didn't seem that bothered and started just walking away.

"I called the police and two of the lads followed the man to see where he went because they weren't happy about what had happened."

Although Cooper wasn't severely injured, Mrs Robson-Cross said he would have been traumatised by the unprovoked attack.

She added: "Hopefully, this won't affect him too badly as I have an 18-month-old daughter who loves playing with Cooper but she won't understand what has happened to him."

Durham Police confirmed that officers had been called out following a complaint.

A spokeswoman said: "The Staffordshire Bull Terrier had escaped from a nearby property through an insecure door and was collected by its owner shortly after the incident. Officers attended the address later that evening to give words of advice to the owner."