A Queen's Park family was left traumatised after their beloved puppy was savagely mauled in a vicious dog attack.
Friendly Ralph, a 10-month-old Bouvier des Flandres, had been enjoying a day out in Queen's Park with his owner Jasmine Steyne, eight, and her friend Katie Fisher, 16, when a pit bull terrier type dog pounced, sinking its teeth into Ralph's face.
The girls desperately tried to free the puppy from the terrier's jaws, but Ralph was so badly injured he required emergency surgery to stop him from dying.
Katie, who had Ralph on a lead, was also bitten during the ordeal and needed hospital treatment.
Jasmine's parents, Caroline and Roger Steyne, who had to pay a £900 vet bill, say Ralph has been set upon twice in Brent since the attack, which happened in September last year, and are calling on all owners of aggressive dogs to take more responsibility.
Mother-of-two Caroline, 48, who was standing 10ft away when Ralph was attacked, said: "My daughter was screaming and I was shouting at anyone to take her away so I could grab the lead.
"This dog had locked his jaws on to Ralph for about a minute and there was blood everywhere. The terrier's owner then came over and started stamping on its back to try and get it off. It was horrific.
"When the dog finally let go it looked possessed. He had ripped through an artery in Ralph's face and blood was pumping out of him. We had to get him to a vet quickly or he would die."
Caroline says the incident has had a lasting effect on her family and especially her daughter.
She said: "Jasmine is still traumatised by what happened. She has always been brought up around dogs - my mother was a dog breeder - and we got a Bouvier because they are so friendly.
"What we want to make clear is that this is not a witch-hunt. Sadly, young kids are arming themselves with these kind of dogs, but why should other dog owners live in fear?"
Caroline's husband, Roger, added: "The owners need to take more responsibility and if their dogs are going to behave like that in a public place where there are young children they need to be muzzled. This could have been an attack on a child.
"The police also need to do something about the increase of these dogs on the streets. We were horrified by the way we were treated by the police, because they said it was just a dog fight.
"If a human did such a brutal act they would be punished. In this case, the owners got away with it, and this must be happening every day."
Earlier this year PC Simon Underwood, of Brent Police, told the Wembley Observer that pit bull terrier type breeds were seen as the legal alternative to guns or knives and were a symbol of power among gangs.
The RSPCA says the number of dog attacks has quadrupled in the past two years and the number of youths showing up with dog bites at hospital has nearly doubled.