STUNNED children watched on in horror as a tiny puppy was savaged by another dog during its first trip to the beach.
Terrier cross Button had to be put down after suffering a crushed skull during the fierce mauling at a busy Blue Lagoon, in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool.
The 12-week-old pet was making her first trip outside with owner Julie Greenhow when a shaggy, black dog bit her head and refused to let go as stunned passers-by watched on. Button was left motionless and whimpering in pain after finally getting free of the larger animal.
Her limp body was carried from the beach by Julie and taken straight to the Bridge Veterinary Group, in Stranton, where vets could not save her as her skull was broken in several places and her neck had also been snapped.
Mum-of-one Julie, 47, said: “One minute she was playing and the next minute it was horrible. This dog came from nowhere.
“There were lots of people distraught.
“It was sunny so there were children around, everyone was watching.”
Button is the first pet of Julie’s 11-year-old son Jay, who goes to St Michael’s RC School, in Billingham.
Luckily he was at a friend’s birthday party and not the Blue Lagoon during the gruesome incident, which happened at around 2.50pm on Saturday, October 1.
The owner of the other dog is said to have tried to drag his pet off and offered to pay the vet bills. But Julie was too busy trying to get her much-loved pet of eight weeks away.
Julie, from Dover Close, Billingham, said: “It’s all just a blur. I think I remember him stopping and offering to pay, but all I could think about was getting Button the help she needed. I was so scared.
“I want to warn people to be on the lookout for this dog and other dogs when they have a puppy because I don’t want anyone to go through what I have.
“I have never heard a dog yelp like Button did. I had to carry her from the beach and it broke my heart seeing her in that state.”
Julie reported Button’s ordeal to officers at Stockton Police Station, but was told there was little they could do as it was “dog on dog”.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman confirmed that the incident was reported but that it was not a police matter