A DOG owner screamed for help as two of his American Bulldogs mauled him so badly his arm was ripped off, witnesses claim.
Brave bystanders tried to make the dogs stop by attacking them with golf clubs and garden tools before the pets eventually ran off into the night.
The incident happened at Priors Grange in High Pittington at about 9pm last night
People living in the village were terrified until one dog was shot dead by police and the other was caught. The search operation involved the force helicopter and armed officers.
An ambulance crew took the 47-year-old owner to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, where he was receiving treatment for his serious but non-life threatening injuries.
Police would not confirm the nature of the man’s injuries.
A 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.
“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.”
The injured man has been regularly seen in the area walking up to seven bulldogs.
Durham Police said one bulldog was “humanely destroyed” in the Coronation Terrace area “a short time after”. The dog that was caught will be kept in kennels while a decision is made about its future.
Durham City Neighbourhood 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.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101.