A MAN has described the terrifying moment he fought to rescue his small dog from the jaws of a vicious German Shepherd cross.

Chihuahua-cross Iggy suffered severe wounds and is recovering, while owner Hal Elliott, of Peterlee has been left with veterinary bills amounting to thousands of pounds.

Mr Elliott, 21, an apprentice at Nissan, said: “I was walking my dogs Iggy and Belle next to the Dene on Friday morning. "I know there is a vicious dog there that has been involved in other incidents and avoid the area.

"I was 100m away from its house when I saw the dog, a German Shepherd/Akita, coming over the brow of the hill and running straight toward us.

Iggy and Belle

Iggy and Belle

"I managed to picked up Belle and the dog was just about to latch onto Iggy’s neck when I kicked it causing it to get hold of Iggy's back legs instead.

“The dog shook him backwards and forwards about five or six times. |It appeared as though it was trying to kill Iggy by breaking his back. I kicked the dog about four or five times before it dropped Iggy and ran off."

He added: “It was quite horrific. My first thought was to get my dog safe but then thought if that dog goes for me there is a good chance I could get injured or worse."

Iggy was taken to a local vet for emergency surgery. Mr Elliott then had to take him to Bishop Auckland for 24/7 care because of the extent of his injuries.

Iggy has four broken vertebrae, a punctured abdomen and damage to his bladder.

Mr Elliott said: "We have paid £1,000 for his immediate care and the ongoing vets bill is £1,300 and it is expected to go up by about £300 a day.

"I set up a crowdfunding page for help to pay the vets bill and have been overwhelmed by the support from the community."

A Durham Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to reports of a dog attacking another dog in Hatfield Place, Peterlee, at around 12.30pm on February 12.

"A small dog suffered several injuries and was taken to the vets for treatment. A 65-year-old man was spoken to by officers yesterday in connection with allowing a dog to be out of control.

!Inquiries are ongoing."

To help Mr Elliott pay the vet's bill click here