A Leyland couple have revealed their devastation after a dog attacked their three-year-old French bulldog.
The married couple, who wish to remain anonymous, were walking their two Frenchies on leads along a pathway by Moss Side Industrial Estate near Paradise Park on December 22 at 10-15am.
They passed a man with what they assumed to be two Bullmastiffs, one of which launched an "unprovoked" attack on their pet Diesel.
One half of the couple, a marketing director, said: "The man saw us and stopped right in the middle of the path. As we guided Diesel around them, one of the Bullmastiffs launched at him and the man fell over as he was not able to control it."
The 40-year-old added: "I threw myself onto the floor to shelter Diesel and my wife came over and pulled the dog off him. That was scary because the owner had no control over his pet.
"Diesel was screaming loudly. The man asked if he was OK but we sent him away. We just wanted to get Diesel away because he was scared."
The Frenchie was rushed to the emergency vets and treated for cuts on his back leg, with the bill totalling around £400.
His owner, a mum-of-one, added: "My eight-year-old daughter had a sleepover the night before and having to tell her that her dog was injured was awful. She was distraught. His back leg was a mess and she didn't want to come home and see it. She was worried about how long it would take to heal."
But she said it's the emotional scars that are causing the most lasting damage to Diesel, who might require training to help him re-learn how to socialise with other dogs.
"The physical wounds are healing nicely but the problem is more the mental trauma. Now he has a fear of other dogs," she added.
"Diesel has always been very affectionate with other people and animals. He loved playing with other dogs before but is of course wary of them now. He is more clingy and nervous being out.
"He has shown some signs of fear aggression and has barked at other dogs since the attack. This is worrying as he has never had that disposition before.
"When we were coming out of the vets' surgery, he saw another dog and he was nervous, his hair stood up and he started barking."
The Leyland mum, who visited the attacking animal's owner to discuss Diesel's injuries, believes the authorities need more powers to prevent dog attacks.
She added: "The man accused Diesel of attacking his dog first and said it never would have happened if we'd kept him on a lead.
"It's his attitude that's the most scary. He showed no acknowledgement of his lack of control over his pet. He said his dog's a big softy and would never hurt another animal.
"It's scary when the owner is in complete denial. If my dog attacked a person or pet, I'd be devastated and feel responsible."
She added that her daughter is also struggling to understand the man's attitude towards the incident.
The eight-year-old said: "I'm feeling quite sad because the other dog owner isn't taking responsibility. I was worried Diesel wouldn't be able to walk. He's like a brother to me."
The Leyland mum also said she "wouldn't hesitate" to obtain a license for her two Frenchies if dog owners were forced by law to hold them.
She added: "What we want is for it not to happen again. The authorities need more powers. If someone damaged my property or vandalised my car I could make a claim. I'd be annoyed but I'd be less passionate about it than my pet being hurt. He's a living thing.
"It is ridiculous. My worry is that next time it might be a child. But there shouldn't be a next time. My daughter could have been hurt if she was with us. Thankfully she was at her friend's house.
"There's the financial impact but there's also the worry. It makes you nervous. Our dogs have always been good off lead but if there's a big, uncontrollable dog around, you never know what's going to happen."
The incident has been reported to the council, which deals with dog on dog cases, while the police tackle attacks on people.
Councillor Sue Jones, cabinet member for environment at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “As a borough council, we have a duty to investigate incidents such as this – a responsibility we take very seriously.
“All incidents reported to us formally will be investigated and dealt with in the appropriate manner – although we cannot comment on ongoing enquiries.
“To report issues like this to the council, please contact us either online on our website; by calling 01772 421 491; or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”