A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy was rushed to hospital with leg injuries after being savaged by a dog in a busy street.
The youngster was hurt in an incident on the junction of Clifton Avenue and Eltringham Road, Hartlepool, at around 3pm yesterday, involving a Staffordshire bull terrier.
An ambulance crew took the boy to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, while police were also in attendance.
A 23-year-old man was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place.
None of the youngster’s family were available to speak to the Mail, and it is thought the victim was with a child-minder who lives locally at the time of the incident.
One man who witnessed the incident, a dad-of-two who did not wish to be identified, said: “There is an area here which is popular with dog-walkers, and that’s where it happened.
“The dog was on the green with two lads, but it jumped over the fence to where this little lad was.
“I heard a scream, then I heard crying and a couple of adults shouting. I came out and the dog was gone. I looked along the street and the child-minder had the little boy in her arms on the floor.
“She was laid down with him.”
The man, who lives near where the attack happened, said a couple pulled up in a car and made an attempt to stop the dog as it was still loose.
He added: “I shouted at the lads who were with the dog to stay where they were, I think they were in shock and they were quite apologetic.
“It was awful, it looked as though the dog had bitten the youngster on the leg.
“The police and ambulance were there quite quickly, and I gave the little lad one of my son’s toys just to try and calm him down a bit as he was screaming, as you can imagine.”
Another eye-witness added: “The dog ran straight across from Eltringham Road, and after it had reached the little boy the person he was with managed to pick him up. It could have been a lot worse had she not got to him so quickly, as the dog ran off.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “Police were called to an incident in which a three-year-old boy was bitten by a dog at around 3pm on Tuesday.
“The boy suffered an injury to his leg and an ambulance was called to the scene. He was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees.
“A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and he has been taken to custody.”
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service added: “We were called to a three-year-old boy who had dog bites to his legs and thighs and he was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees.”