A FAMILY has called for a crackdown on dangerous dogs in Inverness after their beloved family pet was mauled.
Ollie the French bulldog was attacked by a bull terrier while being walked by his owner Mhairi Thomson in Castle Heather Park in the city.
"It was the most frightening experience, I have never been so scared in all my life," said Mrs Thomson (36), from the Balloan area of the Highland capital.
The attack follows a similar incident in May last year when a Maltese puppy needed £2000 worth of surgery after an attack in Dalneigh Park.
And, following the puppy’s surgery, Inverness vet Alison Lawrie said that dog-on-dog attacks were a big issue in the city and that she treated at least two animals a week that had been savaged by another pet.
Before the incident, Mrs Thomson’s 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old niece used to walk Ollie. Now she will not let them out with the dog on their own in case they are attacked by a dog.
Mrs Thomson said a Staffordshire bull terrier ran across the park and went straight for her dog. She tried to save Ollie by picking him up and spinning him round to get the other dog to loosen its grip.
But four-year-old Ollie slipped from his harness and ended up on the ground with the other dog on top of him.
She tried to grab her dog and cradle him in her arms, but the other dog continued to jump at her to try and get to him, biting her fingers in the process.
Once the other dog was eventually brought under control she lifted Ollie and ran with him to safety.
Mrs Thomson and her dog were on their way home at around 2.30pm on Friday when the attack happened.
The dog’s owner kept shouting that he was friendly and nothing to worry about.
"I shouted back asking her to put it on a lead and I turned my back and took Ollie with me, tucked between my legs to try and keep him safe," she said.
"This can’t keep happening in Inverness, something needs to change."
Mrs Thomson’s daughter was originally planning on walking Ollie at the time of the attack but luckily got a call from friends and her mother offered to take him.
The family believe that it could have been a lot worse.
After the incident, Mrs Thomson was contacted by a local woman whose dog had been killed by another dog in a similar attack. The women believe it was the same owner whose dog savaged Ollie.
She called for changes to rules saying that dogs do not have to be kept on leads in public areas and also wants there to be stricter rules regarding dog ownership once people have had a dog removed from their care.
"I feel like I have to drive out to the middle of nowhere to walk my dog now. I don’t feel like I can go across to that park any more," she said.
"The police told me that a dog needs to attack three times before they can do anything about it, which is useless. It could be a child that is attacked next."
Mrs Thomson rushed her pet to Conon Bridge Vets which only charged her for the out-of-hours fee and the price of the injections that her dog needed, amounting to around £60.
Since the attack she has seen the Staffordshire bull terrier off the lead and running around another fenced-off community area.
Police Scotland has powers to deal with dogs acting "dangerously out of control", for example, a dog which seriously injures a person or other animal. This can result in the dog being destroyed.
Highland Council is responsible for policing owners who allow their dogs to cause alarm or make a person apprehensive. It has powers to issue dog control orders, meaning the dog has to be muzzled, kept on a lead and attend training classes.
The council would not confirm how many notices it had issued.