STRAY dogs in East Boldon attacked two ponies while their terrified owners watched on.
Nine-year–old Katie Hampton and her friend Rio Hall, 11, took their ponies Tango and Tia out for a trek on Wednesday at about 4.30pm.
The pair, who were accompanied by Katie’s mum Lyndsey Taylor, and Rio’s aunt Shona Maclean, 17, left the Station Approach stables and headed along towards Tilesheds, when they spotted two stray Staffordshire Bull Terriers racing towards them.
The children managed to dismount before the dogs began their vicious attack, which lasted about 40 minutes.
During the ordeal, the girls got trampled on by their ponies and Tango nearly got knocked down by a lorry after he bolted into the road.
Lyndsey, 31, from Sheridan Road in Biddick Hall, South Shields, who owns Tango, four, said: “It was absolutely horrific.
“We just couldn’t get the dogs off the ponies.
“They were wild. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“Tango was left with cuts and puncture wounds to his face.
“Eight-year-old Tia had a chunk of flesh ripped from her front left leg, exposing the muscle underneath.
“It will take months for the ponies to recover.”
One of the dogs was captured, but a male brindle is still on the loose.
Anyone who saw the attack, or has information, is asked to ring police on 101 ext 69191.