A TINY puppy has been savaged to death in front of its shocked owner while they walked near a popular children’s play area.

Helpless seven-month-old Toy Poodle, Benji, had his neck bitten by a larger Mastiff-type dog at Bourne Valley, Poole, and died within minutes.

Owner Ian Gallanders, who was walking Benji and Sharday, a Labrador, when the attack unfolded said: “It could easily have happened to a small child.”

He said: “It was so fast, this large tan dog just pinned him down and bit his neck. It was shocking, he was savaged and killed. There was nothing I could do. Benji didn’t have a chance.”

Mr Gallanders, aged 45, a hotel night manager, was walking his dogs during a lunchtime.

Benji had already encountered the tan Mastiff-type dog, being walked by two women with a young child. The larger dog started behaving boisterously, said Mr Gallanders, so he called Benji back.

“All of a sudden the dog pinned Benji down and grabbed his neck.

“I had my hands around its jaws and the woman was pulling it back, but everything happened too fast. Benji died in a couple of minutes.”

Mr Gallanders, of Shillingstone Gardens, Poole, said the woman – who desperately tried pulling the dogs apart – also offered to help in the aftermath.

“She had the decency to come back to my address and leave her details. She seemed shocked as well and told me the dog wasn’t hers but she’d been walking it for a friend. She also said she now had concerns about it being around her children.”

After the Daily Echo contacted the woman, she and the owner were so distressed they both declined to comment.

However, we understand the owner of the Mastiff-type dog was so horrified by what transpired he has since had his dog put to sleep.

Vet Henry Feilden, of Branksome’s Poole Road Veterinary Surgery, dealt with Benji and Mr Gallanders in the aftermath.

He said: “This wasn’t a case of playing too hard. This dog was grabbed by the neck with intent.

“That intent was to kill.”

"Something has to be done to combat the problem"

VETERINARY surgeon Henry Feilden believes something must be done to combat dog attacks across the conurbation.

He said: “The reality is that most sensible veterinary surgeons would agree that the instances of dogs being killed, dog on dog, owners being bitten, dog on humans, are happening all the time.

“It is a complex problem, there are all sorts of ramifications including infringement of human rights when people take dogs on walks – aren’t they entitled to have a dog off the lead without a muzzle?

“If we had rabies in this country the government could enforce muzzles, leads, micro-chipping, almost overnight.

“But, thankfully, we don’t have rabies – but for that reason we have lots of freedoms enabling people to do what they want, even if it is completely irresponsible.

“Suppose we put local bylaws in place and they started gradually?

“Suppose we said every dog needs to be on a lead in public places? How would we enforce this?

“My answer would be, let’s just get the law in place now, lets be sensible, we can look at enforcement later.

“We could, here in Dorset, set an example to the rest of the country.”