A father has described the terrifying moment his family’s beloved pet Alsation was savagely attacked by another dog in a popular park - so badly that it had to be put down by a vet.

Paul Haworth, 32, has urged members of the public to beware of a large ginger American bulldog that was out of control when it attacked him and his German Shepherd dog Max at Cong Burn in Chester-le-Street, on Tuesday (July 26).

The Northern Echo: German Shepherd Max with Paul Haworth and wife Kelly and children Olivia and Shaun German Shepherd Max with Paul Haworth and wife Kelly and children Olivia and Shaun

The 32-year-old said: “I am gutted. I have lost my best friend.

He said: “I was walking Max along Cong Burn, where I've been walking him for about eight years now without any incident.

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“I was in the area behind the Cestria Health Centre at about 7.50am when this dog tried to attack me, but Max stopped him from getting to me.

“It was a really big big dog, like an American bulldog or something like that and it wasn’t on a leash."

The dog, which was with a woman, bit Max on the ears and neck in an attack lasting 30 seconds. 

The Northern Echo: Paul Haworth and baby Olivia with Max Paul Haworth and baby Olivia with Max

Mr Haworth said: “I pulled managed to pull Max away, but because her dog wasn't on the lead or anything her dog reengaged Max and then bit him so badly he broke his leg.

“Max couldn’t walk and I picked him up and ran as fast as I could. It was frightening, as the other dog was still running after me.

“I ran as fast as I could through Cong Burn and along the main where someone stopped to help me.”

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Max was taken to Abbey Veterinary  Centre, where it was found he had a severely broken leg, with crush, compound and spiral fractures.

The Northern Echo: German Shepherd dog Max, who enjoyed chasing sticks German Shepherd dog Max, who enjoyed chasing sticks

Mr Haworth said: “It damaged him to the point that the vet said there were too many complications to try and recover him.

“The vets were absolutely brilliant. They kept him comfortable and gave him painkillers.

“Because of the type of fracture, they said they couldn't guarantee that a fix would be there.

“And he couldn't have it amputated because it wouldn't be fair on him, has he wouldn't have any quality of life.

“Max also had puncture wounds around his neck his ears and there was a danger of infection setting in.

"As there was no guarantee that he would have survived and made a full recovery, unfortunately we've just had to put him down.”

He added: "I'm gutted. He was my best friend. I've had him since being seven weeks old.

"I took him to obedience classes and puppy class. He was around when Olivia, who is six, was born and my Shaun, who is four. He's great with them.

"I'm so pleased, because the schools are off, that I never took them up with me this morning because it could have been an even worse story."

A Durham Police spokesperson confirmed officers are investigating the incident and have urged any witnesses to contact 101 and quote crime reference number 0152 of July 26.

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