Traumatised witnesses have recounted how a dog owner’s two pets turned on him and savaged him as he screamed.

Onlookers were forced to arm themselves with garden tools and gold clubs in an attempt to separate the two American Bulldogs from their owner, who was left writhing in agony.

Two American Bulldogs were involved in the attack

Two American Bulldogs were involved in the attack

The large dogs subjected their owner to such a violent mauling that his arm was ripped from his body, according to witnesses.

The emergency services were quickly deployed; the 47 year-old man, from Pittington in County Durham was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle; his injuries are described as serious, but not life-threatening. Police would not comment on the nature of the injuries received, but locals said that the victim was regularly seen in the area walking as many as seven bulldogs.

While locals cowered in their homes, police searched for the dogs with the aid of a helicopter; eventually one dog was shot dead by armed police and officers were able to capture the other and a decision will be made about its future shortly.

One witness said: “There was a man on the floor getting mauled by two big dogs. I’ve never seen something so vicious and brutal in my life. I saw blood and his arm was literally torn off, his clothes were torn or pulled off and he was just squirming about screaming for help and eventually it looked as if he just gave up.

“People were behind the dogs in a car beeping the horn constantly to try and scare the dogs away, while some other people were also hitting the dogs with garden tools and golf clubs, but no matter what the dogs would not stop.

The victim was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary

The victim was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary

“Eventually the dogs stopped and ran away, and while they were running one of them was hit by a car, several times I think, but it still continued to run away. Both dogs ended up missing and then that is when an ambulance and a police car arrived at the scene. Not too long after more police cars arrived and also a helicopter.”

An officer with Durham City Police, Inspector Dave Coxon, said: “I can confirm that both dogs were quickly captured by police and it was necessary for reasons of public safety to humanely destroy one of the dogs. I understand this must have been a shocking incident for those witnessing it and I would like to thank those members of the public for their efforts in trying to assist the man. My officers will be out in the Priors Grange area of Pittington throughout the course of the day to offer reassurance and support.”